An aspiring Conservative MP who shared a message of friendship with a Labour supporter online has been inundated with rape and death threats - but has not been put off her dream.

Students Sophie Warrener and Rose Drinkwater, both 19 and from North West Cambridgeshire constituency, have been best friends since their early childhood but one is a Conservative and the other votes Labour - although both did vote remain in the EU referendum.

Sharing a photo of the pair together, Warrener wrote: "This is me and my best friend, Rose. Rose votes Labour. I vote Conservative. However, we have not let our political differences get in the way of our 16 years (and counting) of friendship. Be more like me and Rose."

She was inspired to tweet after thinking about Labour MP Laura Pidcock's recent comment that she would never be friends with a Conservative.

In an interview with Skwawkbox, Pidcock said: "I have met a couple of Tories who were genuinely really anxious for me to see that they weren't horrible people and really believed putting everything into private enterprise will achieve better results. Whatever type they are, I have absolutely no intention of being friends with any of them."

Pidcock added: "I feel disgusted at the way they're running this country, it's visceral – I'm not interested in being cosy."

Warrener and Drinkwater were together on Friday (8 December), and they had their "usual chat" about politics. Warrener told IBTimes UK: "We both put our viewpoints on different things across but not once did the conversation become strained or intolerant. The day went on and I was thinking about recent comments from Labour MP Laura Pidcock when she said she wouldn't "hang out" with Tory women.. and I just couldn't get my head around it.

"I realised that in today's politics, sadly, friendships like mine and Rose's are hard to find and are considered unusual so I felt posting a message of tolerance would be worthwhile."

The tweet has now been liked more than 9,000 times and retweeted 2,300 times, but the reaction has been extremely mixed, with some abuse directed at Warrener just for being a Conservative. She said: "I'm lucky and relieved that majority of the response has been positive and incredibly supportive of my message. It is a shame about the people who thought sending me rape and death threats was a cool thing to do... but obviously the positivity I've received outweighs that."

Warrener received messages of support from numerous Conservative MPs, and gaining their respect meant a lot to her as she would like to become an MP one day herself.

Braintree MP James Cleverly said on Twitter: "I strongly suspect that Sophie and Rose are going to have happier and more successful lives than the partisan dimwits condemning their friendship. #StayStrongLadies."

And Paul Masterston, Scottish Conservative for East Renfrewshire, tweeted: "My best man is massively pro-indy and before he moved to Belfast after uni voted SNP. It's kinda sad that these friendships are considered special or unusual..."

The threats have not put Warrener off her dream of being an MP, as she recognises it is "part and parcel of being involved in politics, as sad as that is". She added: "It's just HOW one deals with the hate that shows what type of person they are. I'm a firm believer that you can't fight fire with fire and hate must be met with love in order to be productive."

The women have also received many messages of support from people who were pleased to see evidence of cross-party friendships. One Twitter user, Timothy, said: "More of this is needed in the UK, as the replies show just how tribal politics has become," while BBC broadcaster Jeremy Vine described it as "promising".

Another user, Rick, said: "I strongly disagree with some of my best friends politically. Nevertheless, we bonded, and continue to bond over the things we have in common, and I wouldn't change them for the world. Keep kicking ass, Sophie and Rose."

And Labour staffer Daniel Robert Tye responded: "My boyfriend works for a Tory MP & I work for a Labour MP. We often have heated discussions about politics - FYI I am always right. Does that mean I am going to break up with him? No. Because there is more to him and I than our politics! Thanks for saying this."