Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 11:56 UK

Ex-minister Blears' car attacked

Hazel Blears
Ms Blears said she did not think her car was targeted because of who she is

Former cabinet minister Hazel Blears' car has been attacked while she was out canvassing voters.

Vandals slashed the tyres of the Labour MP for Salford's Citroen Xsara Picasso and smashed its windscreen.

The ex-communities secretary said she did not think her car had been targeted because of who she was and called the attack "pathetic and cowardly".

The MP recently survived an attempt to deselect her over revelations involving her parliamentary expenses.

Ms Blears said did not believe this was linked to the attack on her car, which was first revealed by the Manchester Evening News newspaper.

'Gang of kids'

She told the BBC: "This was an act of anti-social behaviour by some youths, the same kind of anti-social behaviour unfortunately many of my constituents have to put up with.

"I was canvassing nearby at the time and returned to my car to find the damage.

"I had earlier seen a gang of kids hanging around the car. This was pathetic and cowardly."

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "At about 6.25pm on Sunday police in Salford were called to Cemetery Road, Weaste, following a report that a car had been damaged.

"Between 5pm and 6.15pm, offenders had smashed the windscreen of a parked grey Citroen Xsara Picasso and slashed all four tyres.

"No-one was injured in the incident and officers are now investigating."

Earlier this year Ms Blears, a former Labour Party chairman and Home Office minister, decided to repay £13,000 after it emerged she had not paid capital gains tax on the sale of a property.

Although her actions had been within the MP expenses rules, they were described as "totally unacceptable" by the prime minister.

She was later criticised for resigning from the cabinet days before voters went to the polls in the European and local elections, although she subsequently said she "enormously" regretted the timing of her departure.

In June, she defeated a no-confidence motion in a vote by her constituency Labour association.

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