A minder tried to silence Tory candidate Maria Hutchings as she tried to justify controversial comments she made on Twitter.

Mrs Hutchings posted during the London riots of 2011, suggesting that police officers should be armed with guns capable of splashing rioters with indelible paint, as well as calling for parents of young offenders to be punished by dressing up in uniform and joining their children in cleaning up damage.

A party press officer tried to end the conversation, but the mum-of-four, who lives in West End, was adamant that she wanted to back up her comments.

She told the Daily Echo: “Look, I’m a straight talker. For people who go out and riot why isn’t a common sense approach to be able to target them by firing paint or whatever? Not into their eyes, but you know, they were the people doing it.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “While Liberal Democrats in Eastleigh have been reducing antisocial behaviour and under-age drinking, Maria’s big idea is to get police running around like a stag party enjoying a weekend’s paintballing.”