01:46 GMT +321 November 2019
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    British politicians Heidi Allen, left, Sarah Wollaston, centre, and Anna Soubry, right, joined new political party 'The Independent Group' pose for a photograph after a press conference in Westminster in London, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

    Conservative Defector Sarah Wollaston Viciously Attacked by Party in Facebook Ads

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    Wollaston was a renowned rebel in the Conservative party, voting against the Cameron-Clegg government on several key votes, including voting in favour of a referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2011, and against military intervention in Syria in 2013.

    series of Facebook adverts attacking Sarah Wollaston, who defected to Change UK over the party’s Brexit stance before joining the Liberal Democrats earlier this year, has appeared on Facebook.

    Wollaston has been the sole focus of a series of focused ads appear on the social media monopole, which accuse her of “betraying Brexit” by joining the Lib Dems.

    In one promotion, she’s depicted alongside Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Scottish National Party chief Nicola Sturgeon and Liberal Democrat head Jo Swinson, along with the caption “Should Sarah Wollaston be working with these politicians to stop Brexit?”, in another she’s featured in monochrome against a vibrant red background.

    ​Every ad has an accompanying poll, asking users whether she should “get away with ignoring the referendum result” - the personal information of those who vote is in turn collected by the Conservatives.

    The campaign was launched 16th August, and has so far cost approximately £1,500 – neither Heidi Allen nor Anna Soubry, also Conservative MPs who defected to Change UK at the same time as Wollaston, have been targeted in this manner. Given the data collection involved in the effort, it may indicate an intention by the party to deselect Wollaston and hold a by-election in her constituency to replace her.

    ​Since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, the Conservative party has significantly increased its spending on Facebook ads, pumping just over £86,0o0 into targeted advertising on the platform in the 30 days to 17th August, more than the party spent in the previous 60 days, and over three times the amount spent by Labour (£23,135) over the same time period. The Lib Dems’ paltry spend amounted to little over £4,000. The promotional material has typically centred on Johnson’s ability to “deliver Brexit”.

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