Years ago, I criticised Jess Phillips for installing a panic room in her office – on the grounds that her own poor behaviour had attracted unwanted attention to her.
I wrote that I hoped she had not demanded that the work be funded by the public purse.
Her attitude continues to put people off – as evidenced by the following response to her entirely justified criticism of Boris Johnson’s choice of language in Parliament:
You're right, but I'll take no lectures from Jess Philips. pic.twitter.com/Le4waHIXQv
— Ray (@Armsman47) September 26, 2019
Ray’s right too – she was entirely wrong to walk with dozens of other MPs to the hearing before Labour’s National Constitutional Committee that expelled anti-racism campaign Marc Wadsworth from the party on the basis of lies from her colleague Ruth Smeeth.
It is, therefore, very hard to sympathise with Ms Phillips on any level at all.
But Boris Johnson has found a way for me to do so.
As I noted above, her criticism of the language he used in the Commons chamber on September 25 was entirely justified.
He had deliberately used references to a “surrender act”, “betrayal” and “traitors” – words that appear in death threats sent to MPs.
And it seems one of the people who uses such language in his communications with MPs – or responds to it in a negative way – got the message loud and clear.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence following an incident outside the constituency office of the Labour MP Jess Phillips, in which the suspect is reported to have banged on the windows and shouted “fascist”.
Phillips, who represents Birmingham Yardley, said her staff had to be locked in the office while the man tried to smash the windows.
West Midlands police confirmed a 36-year-old man had been arrested outside the office on Yardley Road in Acocks Green, Birmingham.
Back in 2016, I wrote: “Nobody should be put in fear for their life while carrying out a job that doesn’t carry that kind of risk with it – and I would certainly suggest that being a representative of the people like an MP should not.”
My belief at the time was that Ms Phillips was overreacting to people who had themselves overreacted to her less-enlightened comments.
It seems that, three years later, Mr Johnson has proved her right after all.
Of course, if they didn’t actually use the panic room, it’s still an enormous waste of money – public or not.
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