Tory MP accuses women’s football fans of vandalising East Sussex office

A minister has accused fans of a south London women’s football club of vandalising her constituency office in East Sussex after their team won the league on Sunday.

Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes and a minister for health, posted on X that she had contacted police after “supporters of a London women’s football club playing in the local area yesterday felt it appropriate to damage my office”.

In a separate post she said her office had been vandalised over the weekend with “free Palestine” material.

Sussex police said: “We can confirm we have received a report of criminal damage at a premises in West Quay, Newhaven, which is alleged to have occurred around 5.15pm on Sunday 19 May.”

They said their inquiries were ongoing and asked anyone with information to contact them.

The only London’s women’s football club playing in the area on Sunday afternoon were Dulwich Hamlet, who secured promotion from the fifth tier of women’s football with a 5-1 win over Saltdean United. The match, played at a stadium close to Caulfield’s office, finished an hour before the alleged incident.

Caulfield contacted Dulwich Hamlet to say she had referred the incident to the police. There is no suggestion the team played any role in the incident.

The minister accused the fans of “targeting a female MP” and said their faces, shirts and scarves had been captured on CCTV footage, which had been handed to the police.

Caulfield has come under scrutiny for circulating campaign literature that referred to “15-minute cities,” an urban planning concept intended to make cities more livable. A conspiracy theory has grown around it claiming it is actually an attempt to restrict people’s freedoms.

In her post on X she said: “Those who pushed the conspiracy nonsense last week this is on all of you & you have put the safety of my staff at risk.”

Dulwich Hamlet are known in women’s football circles for their unusually large and loud support base, which has grown significantly in recent years. They are a wing of the men’s club, which attracted the support of former footballer Rio Ferdinand and the London mayor, Sadiq Khan in their battle to save their ground from developers.

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The club promotes itself as having an actively anti-racist, anti-homophobic stance and regularly organises community activism.

Dulwich Hamlet were contacted for comment.

Caulfield declined to comment.

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