Jess Phillips spoke to Jo Cox’s family before meeting man who attacked office

The Birmingham Yardley MP spoke at Glastonbury Festival.

Jess Phillips (Yui Mok/PA)
Jess Phillips (Yui Mok/PA)

Labour MP Jess Phillips has said she consulted with murdered MP Jo Cox’s family before meeting with a man who attacked her constituency office.

Speaking at Glastonbury Festival in the Crows Nest area, Ms Phillips told the audience how she rang the family of Ms Cox to affirm there has to be zero tolerance against the abuse of MPs but said she could not let this person be criminalised.

She said: “A man attacked my office because of things he read on social media that were entirely untrue about the Brexit referendum.

“He tried to kick in the door and the police had to be called.

“I just thought I know if I sit down with this man I will be able to have a laugh with him.

“I thought I can’t just let this person be criminalised, I could try and talk to him, so I did.

“Funnily enough the people that I asked if it was OK was Jo Cox’s family.

“I rang them and said I am going to do this, I know there has to be zero tolerance against the abuse of Members of Parliament but they said absolutely, it’s certainly what Jo would have done had she had the opportunity to do it, I was anxious about letting them know.”

The Birmingham Yardley MP said that as expected the talk was “lovely” and he was just “a person who needed help”.

She added that since the incident in Yardley Road in Acocks Green, Birmingham, in September 2019, the man has moved to her constituency on purpose because “he wanted me to be his MP”.

During her midday talk at Worthy Farm, she added that apathy is the “greatest tool” that the Conservative Party has.

She said: “When people opt out of politics, they win.

“Do you think it bothers Boris Johnson when we say ‘you’re all the same’ every time somebody no longer bothers to vote, it has the opposite effect.

Apathy is the greatest tool they have.

“I can’t bear the idea that people think they can’t change things, it’s simply not true. Everything that this audience has that they value is because some people got together.

“The exact opposite story gets told to people now, ‘there’s no point trying, nothing is going to change’ – they are gleeful when people think like this.

“Power is something we want more of, we should seek power, we should use our power and every single time you think the way to gain power is to opt out of the system you might as well give Boris Johnson a hug.

“When the Labour Party wins again there has to be a massive, massive push to reconnect the people with the politics.

“Democracy is needlessly complicated. All of it needs to be made much more simple and better for people to understand.”

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