Labour MP Jess Phillips says police visit her home ‘weekly’ due to horrific online abuse and death threats from violent parents who want her to feel ‘the pain of having a child removed’
Jess Phillips has revealed police visit her home weekly to take statements about the horrific online death threats she receives on a regular basis.
The Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding opened up about the ‘nasty and graphic’ abuse she receives, often from violent parents who ‘blame’ her for having their children removed from their care.
Trolls taunt the mother-of-two by saying they want her to feel ‘the pain of having a child removed’ and the Labour MP says she is often ‘triggered’ by the abuse and is ‘taken back’ to the murder of Jo Cox.
However Jess, 40, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, doesn’t believe in a police presence at surgeries in the wake of Sir David Amess‘ murder last month, insisting that constituents are often ‘vulnerable and need privacy’.
Labour MP Jess Phillips, pictured in 2019, says police visit her home weekly to take statements about the horrific online death threats she receives on a regular basis
Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine today, she said: ‘A lot of the threats I get, and some of the people who have been criminalised for attacking me and my family, are men who perceive that because I stand up for women and girls that somehow I am a threat to them.
‘I get threats from people who perceive that I have had their children removed from them because they were violent towards their partners, the idea I hate men is used in some of the aggressive and violent threats I get.
‘People talking about very nasty and graphic abuse they would perpetuate against me: people hoping I have my children removed from me, that I understand the pain of being without my children, simply because I speak up for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.’
However, the MP for Birmingham Yardley doesn’t believe she or other MPs should have constant police protection, although more does need to be done to ensure they can do their job safely.
Appearing on ITV’s Lorraine today, opened up about the ‘nasty and graphic’ abuse she receives, often from violent parents who ‘blame’ her for having their children removed from their care
‘It is complicated and I don’t think we have the answer yet I’m afraid’, she said. ‘I don’t want to do my job if it means not being with the public.
‘Today I will spend my time with my constituents and I can’t be followed around by a police presence everywhere, there’s not enough police for that for a start, but I don’t want too.
‘I want people to come up to me and feel like they can trust me. MPs deal with a huge amount of vulnerable people who need privacy, so there’s got to be a balancing act because I can’t do my job unless I feel safe as well.’
She says that coping with the abuse can often be difficult, and that she can be ‘triggered’ by the trolling and re-visit the traumatic memory of Jo Cox’s murder in 2016.
Jess, 40, doesn’t believe in a police presence for Members of Parliament in the wake of Tory MP David Amesses murder last month. She is pictured on the Andrew Marr show in March
‘I deal with it differently,’ she said. ‘It depends if i’m having a bad day. I can’t cope with it sometimes and I’m frightened, I have events where I get triggered, I’ll be taken back to that moment. The killing of Jo Cox I get literally triggered where I go back to that moment.’
However she says that after writing about her feelings publically Parliament has contacted her offering support, adding that while she’s ‘hard as nails’ it helps having someone to talk to.
Jess says as her two children have got older she’s had to ‘prepare them’ for the online abuse their mother receives.
‘I did try to keep it from them when they were smaller, but when the police are coming round weekly to take statements the children start to notice these things’, she said.
But Jess said she won’t give up politics yet, because she is ‘more afraid of living in a world where people are too frightened to step into public life’.