New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
27 September 2019updated 09 Sep 2021 12:50pm

British Army corporal tweets Angela Rayner will “perish” in Brexit “civil war”

A serving British soldier has issued a death threat to the shadow education secretary.

By Harry Lye

A corporal in the British Army issued a death threat to a Labour MP and appeared to incite “civil war” on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.

The corporal, whose Twitter account has now been deleted, wrote to Rayner: “Ohh fuck off you stupid bitch” and said the MP would “perish when civil war comes and it’s coming”. The soldier ended the tweet by adding that “17.4 million people are gunning for blood if we don’t leave”.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed to the New Statesman this morning that the corporal “is a serving member of the Armed Forces.

However, the MoD did not say that it would investigate the tweet, saying instead that it “has been referred to the civilian authorities to investigate.” A spokesperson added: “The Army is a politically neutral organisation and holds its people to the highest standards.”

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

The tweet was sent in response to Rayner’s condemnation of comments made on Monday by the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, describing parliament as “dead” and a “disgrace” for refusing to offer his party an early general election. Rayner shared a screenshot of the reply from the corporal, describing it as an example of the “usual vile tweet I get daily”.

Another statement made by the same soldier on social media described Jo Swinson as “dangerous” and threatened that the Liberal Democrats’ position on Brexit could lead to “civil war”. A comment made under the corporal’s name on the UK Defence Journal website argued that migrants should be sent back to their home countries because they “try impose their way of life into us”.

The British Army has come under increasing scrutiny to do more in the face of right-wing extremism in recent years, following a number of incidents involving service members. In May, the army released a leaflet entitled “Extreme Right Wing (XRW) Indicators & Warnings” to help alert defence staff to soldiers who show signs of extremism. The army was also forced to discipline troops when footage emerged showing soldiers in Afghanistan using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice. At the time, the Ministry of Defence said the video was “not fitting of the high standards we expect”.

On the same evening that the corporal’s tweet was sent the MP for Dewsbury, Paula Sherriff, asked Boris Johnson to moderate his rhetoric after he described parliament’s opposition to a no-deal Brexit as a “surrender” that would “betray the people”. Sherriff protested that such language endangers MPs such as herself who are “subject to death threats and abuse every single day”.

The Prime Minister responded: “I have never heard such humbug in all my life”.

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy