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Tory activist jailed over messages threatening to have Yvette Cooper beaten up

Tory activist jailed over messages threatening to have Yvette Cooper beaten up
2 min read

A Tory activist who said he would pay “crackheads” to beat up Yvette Cooper has been jailed for nine weeks.

Joshua Spencer, 25, sent messages to a man he met on a dating site saying that Labour MP would “pay” for her attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit.

He wrote: “I’m already organising … to hurt her. Amazing what crackheads will do for £100. I’m going to get her beat up.

“It’s doing me head in that Labour who claim to represent the working class are actively going against the working class … If you make peaceful revolution difficult you make a violent one inevitable.”

The unemployed activist was a constituent of Ms Cooper in her Pontefract, Normanton and Castleford seat, and had stood for the Conservatives in May’s local elections.

He was arrested in April last year over the messages, but still attended the constituency election count in December, at which Ms Cooper was present, despite being charged and on bail.

Mr Spencer pleaded guilty in January to sending malicious messages about the MP, and was sentenced at Leeds Magistrate Court on Friday.

During his trial, he was defended by Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns, who described him as “a decent and honest person whose heart is in the right place”.

She added that he had been “let down by the system” and desperately needed help for his mental health problems, including bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Cooper also said that she and her constituency staff were aware of Mr Spencer’s troubles.

Case workers had given him “considerable” help with his mental health problems in 2017, when they were “concerned for his welfare”, she added.

She told the court: “Disagreement and debate are a healthy part of our politics. But violent threats, intimidation and abuse, online or offline, undermine our democracy.

“MPs across the country, particularly women MPs, have unfortunately become accustomed to a continued stream of abuse online and threats from a small number of people, often on the extreme fringes of politics. But this behaviour is not normal, and we must never treat it as so.”

In September, Yvette Cooper’s daughter Ellie wrote on Twitter that she feared for her mother’s life.

The MP’s daughter also accused Boris Johnson of “using language that helps incite violence towards MPs”

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