Labour MP Jess Phillips receives death threat ‘quoting Boris Johnson’
Politician says she received letter reading: ‘People like you...will be found dead in a ditch’
“I have had a death threat this week that literally quoted the prime minister and used the prime minister’s name and words in a death threat that was delivered to my staff,” she said, while asking an urgent question in the House of Commons.
The threat read: “It was rather prophetic that Boris Johnson should say ‘I would rather be found dead in a ditch.’ That is what will happen to those who do not deliver Brexit,” Ms Phillips revealed on Twitter.
During a September press conference Mr Johnson had said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for a Brexit delay.
Ms Phillips’ urgent question concerned the language used by the prime minister in a heated Commons debate on Wednesday night.
During chaotic proceedings the prime minister dismissed concerns about his rhetoric as “humbug” and suggested that the best way to honour the memory of Jo Cox, the murdered Labour MP, would be to deliver Brexit.
His response, to a plea to moderate his language from Labour MP Paula Sherriff, caused fury on the opposition benches.
Multiple MPs, many female, echoed Ms Sherriff’s plea only to be met with increased defiance from the PM.
Ms Phillips told the Commons the prime minister’s language was part of a deliberate strategy.
The 37-year-old said his words had been “clearly tested and workshopped and worked up” to create “division.”
“It is totally planned,” the Labour MP said. “And I get it...we’re all ambitious...but I also have a soul. It is completely and utterly a part of a strategy designed by somebody.”
Ms Phillips reflected on the prime minister’s remarks about Jo Cox and added: “I actually don’t feel anger towards the prime minister, I feel pity for those of you who have to toe his line. The people sitting opposite me know how appalling it is.”
Ms Cox was murdered by a far-right supporter during the referendum campaign in 2016.
Ms Phillips asked the PM to apologise. “It will not upset people who want Brexit in this country if he acts, for once, like a statesman,” she said.
The Birmingham Yardley MP said she hoped to have a conversation with the prime minister about his “inflamed language” but added that Mr Johnson would not engage with her.
“He’s not interested in talking to me, he’s only interested in making people hate me,” she said.
On Thursday Ms Phillips revealed that a man had been arrested outside her constituency office and had allegedly called her a “fascist”.
West Midlands Police said: “A 36-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and possession of cannabis. He’s been taken into police custody and will be questioned in due course.”
Ms Phillips told Sky News that she would not “leap to blame Boris Johnson for this attack”.
Additional reporting by agencies