The deputy chairman of the Conservative Party has said Labour's abusive online trolls are "monstering" Tories online - adding that leading figures like John McDonnell are setting the tone.
James Cleverly also said he and his party are going to try to win the youth vote by being honest with them, suggesting Jeremy Corbyn has built up false hope on issues such as Brexit and tuition fees.
Cleverly's new role, conferred by Theresa May in her recent reshuffle, means he will have specific responsibility for boosting the Tory's electoral performance, starting with the forthcoming round of local elections.
Asked why the Tories appear to be losing the battle on social media, the Braintree MP suggested that "when people do share things online which are pro-Conservative, there has been an increasing trend of them being monstered by trolls on the left."
Although he admitted that this was a problem for all parties, Cleverly told Julia Hartley-Brewer that the left was guilty of "very aggressive, very nasty" behaviour, and suggested that while much of it came from activists, it was also emanating from senior members of the party.
As an example he cited John McDonnell's comments about lynching Esther McVey - suggesting that, while McDonnell may have been citing the views of someone else in that instance rather than expressing his own, that was no defence.
At the forthcoming elections, Cleverly said, all Tory candidates will be made to sign a respect pledge to guarantee they will not indulge in online abuse.
Cleverly also said that, as the party of government, the Tories had to make some tough decisions and these were often being warped by "completely deceitful lies" by the opposition.
Specifically, he said Labour were giving young people a false impression of their position on Brexit, and making empty promises about abolishing tuition fees. The Tories, he insisted, would not do so.