Opponent told to stay out of Anna Soubry’s constituency after harassment verdict

A Brexiteer who is standing against leading Remainer Anna Soubry in the General Election has been found guilty of harassing her and banned from campaigning in her constituency.

Driven by anger, Amy Dalla Mura, 56, targeted Ms Soubry between January and March this year, turning up at events and calling her a traitor on live television, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard.

Ms Soubry and Dalla Mura are standing in Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, Ms Soubry for the Independent Group for Change and Dalla Mura for the English Democrats.

Brexit
Brexit

The court heard that on January 23, Dalla Mura, from Hove, attended an event in Parliament where Ms Soubry was speaking, repeatedly interrupting her and live streaming the event on her phone. The meeting was eventually abandoned when she refused to stop.

Passing verdict, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said Dalla Mura "knew that she had done something wrong and thought that she had got away with it".

Describing Dalla Mura's behaviour as "oppressive and unacceptable", the magistrate said her conduct as "driven by anger at Ms Soubry's political views on Brexit" and that she had "caused harassment in the sense of alarm and distress".

Former Tory minister Ms Soubry became a target for abuse after vocally opposing Brexit. She quit the Tories in February over the issue.

Dalla Mura, who refused to give her name and address when asked in court, was ordered to stay away from the Broxtowe constituency as a condition of her bail and told she must conduct her election campaign from elsewhere and over the internet.

The magistrate said she was free to criticise other parties' policies, but must not mention Ms Soubry by name in her electioneering.

There was laughter in the full public gallery when the magistrate asked for a psychiatric report on Dalla Mura be prepared ahead of her sentencing on December 16 – four days after the election.

In addition to the January incident, the court that on March 14 Dalla Mura approached Ms Soubry in Parliament's Central Lobby while she was appearing on the BBC's Newsnight, calling her a "traitor" while again filming her.

Presenter Nicholas Watt said Dalla Mura "looked troubled, very anxious and angry.

"Anna Soubry looked very alarmed by this very hostile presence."

A week later, Dalla Mura tried to intercept the MP in Westminster, saying she wanted to "have a word", but did not manage to find her.