minister’s wife with a newborn baby has told how she felt “violated” after being sent a soiled nappy to her home address.
The tracked parcel was addressed to her with the message: “Better check and see what your husband has been up to…”
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer, 40, who is on maternity leave after giving birth to their third daughter Audrey in June, has reported the incident to the police.
She said the level of abuse her husband receives at work was “off the scale” with regular death threats and reports to the police at least once a week.
She told the Standard: “It was in one of those jiffy bags. I started to pull it out of the bag and then the smell hit me and straight away I realised what it was and dropped it.
“It’s a baby’s nappy with poo in, but it’s not like a nappy that’s been worn. So I’m thinking ‘oh my god has like a grown person s*** into a nappy and sent it to me’?
“It’s really sinister because it was sent to me, it was sent to my home address.
“I’m thinking… do people know that we’ve just had a baby and is it a reference to us in that way?”
Her husband, the MP for Plymouth Moor View, was with her and grabbed the nappy to dispose of it outside.
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer added: “I haven’t stopped washing my hands. I didn’t want to pick my baby up, you just feel dirty and violated and just disgusting.
“You’re trying to keep an environment safe, clean and sterile. And the next thing you know, you’re standing in your kitchen with a handful of someone else’s s***.
“It is really distressing. Plus I’m still quite hormonal…It’s not going to take much to upset me. And that would have upset me on the best of days. It’s just wrong on so many levels.
“It feels like someone has planned to reach into my home and get me in my kitchen in my safe space in my little bubble where here we are just Johnny and Felicity.
“Here, he’s not a government minister. We’re just a normal family with normal children doing normal things.”
The couple also have two other daughters called Amalie, 11, and Joey, seven, who were both at school when the incident happened.
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer said she thought the post might have been sent in response to the vote on footballer Marcus Rashford’s free school meal campaign.
She added: “We expect the abuse to come to the office, I’m used to him being told to go and hang himself over Brexit and being told that he’s a child killer over the free school meals f****** mess.
“Every MP has to stand on the front line and literally take bullet, after bullet, after bullet for their flipping useless government.
“But the public don’t see that, they just see a representative of the government and think he must be some sort of child killer, he wants to starve kids.”
Mr Mercer had his Overseas Operations Bill – legislation to curb prosecutions of current and former military personnel – going through Parliament around the same time.
She added: “Was he going to risk losing his job on that night and then let down all the veterans and the reason that he came into politics in the first place?
“No, so it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how politics works, people vote with their government because they don’t really have a choice and they have to take these bullets, if they want to push through the agenda that they’re interested in.
“Everything in politics is a trade-off and I didn’t know any of this before.”
Mrs Cornelius-Mercer said she had been left feeling worried about the safety of her family and urged people to think twice about abusing MP’s relatives.
She added: “I would just urge people to remember that politicians are people, and they have families and these families are just doing everything they can to support the people that they’re proud of, whether it’s their dad or brother or mother or sister or daughter and stop to take a minute.
“My girls – they love their dad and they’re so proud of him and I just don’t want them to ever see anything like that. Thank God they weren’t here.”
Asked what she would say to the person who sent her the post, she replied: “It doesn’t change anything, you’re not Greta Thunberg up there with your loudspeaker making a difference. You’re sending s*** in the mail.”
The family live just outside Mr Mercer’s constituency because of the death threats and to keep their children away from any political abuse at the school gates.
Mr Mercer tweeted out images of the nappy and added: “I publicise this stuff not because I want sympathy – I’m very privileged.
“But I do think people should be aware of what getting involved in politics is really like in 2020 Britain.”
The Standard has contacted Devon and Cornwall Police for comment.