The Reform UK candidate for the Truro and Falmouth constituency says an alleged assault during the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival on Saturday, which he says left him with ligament damage, won’t put him off running for the election, writes Local Democracy Reporter Lee Trewhela

Steve Rubidge, a GWR train driver, said aggression was a “worrying trend” in politics but he will carry on campaigning.

The alleged incident, which is being investigated by police, happened at 1.15pm at Grove Place, near Events Square, after Mr Rubidge claims he was confronted by a young man.

The candidate, who lives near St Austell, said he was treated in hospital for “bad ligament damage” to his ankle after he claimed he was kicked and punched by aman, who, he said, had taken his bag containing his wallet and car key as well as election leaflets.

“I thought I’d do a bit of campaigning at the sea shanty festival – I’ll go and hand out a few leaflets to get my name out there," he said.

"I was there five minutes with some supporters and this guy comes up and asked what was happening. He said he didn’t know who Reform were. We were standing in the archway leading to Events Square."

He added: "I thought, this has taken a bit of a turn. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, I tried to keep it nice and open. He wasn’t prepared to listen.”

Mr Rubidge alleged his bag was then stolen: “I had everything in a bag including all my personal bits, my wallet, my car key and all my campaigning stuff. He grabbed the lot and legged it through Events Square," he claimed,

Mr Rubidge says he was accused of being a racist on social media posts about the incident. 

He said: “On posts about it I’m being called a racist – that’s people interpreting Reform’s policy on immigration as racist. It’s crazy – they don’t know the facts. I’d suggest that people who think that have a debate."

He added: "Later on in the day a load of other young people came up and we had a good debate – that’s what democracy is.

“I had to take yesterday off by order of my wife more than anything. I couldn’t put weight on my ankle, but I’ve got more campaigning to do. I’m not letting it put me off. This won’t stop me.”

Police enquiries are currently ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident. Anyone who witnessed the incident, or has information, is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police quoting 50240146510.

The other candidates for Falmouth and Truro are:

Liberal Democrat, Ruth Gripper

Labour, Jayne Kirkham

Green,Karen La Borde

Independent, Peter Lawrence

Conservative, Cherilyn Mackrory

Liberal Party, Peter White