Right-wing Labour MP Jess Phillips [Image: BBC].

Right-wing Labour MP Jess Phillips [Image: BBC].


The offence is known as ‘treating’, and outspoken Labour right-winger Jess Phillips offered to commit it on Twitter on July 18.

The Electoral Commission defines ‘treating’ as follows:

“A person is guilty of treating if either before, during or after an election they directly or indirectly give or provide any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent – it does not apply to ordinary hospitality.”

Giving or providing drink would clearly include the following, if the promise was carried out:

Jess Phillips's offending tweet. I've removed the name of the recipient of the offer.

Jess Phillips’s offending tweet. I’ve removed the name of the recipient of the offer.

Now, I know what some of you might want to say at this point: “It’s not serious, Mike!” “She was only offering – she wouldn’t have gone through with it!” Or other words to the effect that the remark was innocent.

Was it really?

And if we let her get away with it, will it continue to be innocent? Or will she go through with it?

Better to nip it in the bud. There will be a complaint to the NEC. Let’s see how seriously it is taken.

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