Tory candidate jailed for nine weeks after threatening messages about Labour MP Yvette Cooper

A Tory candidate who sent threatening messages about Labour MP Yvette Cooper has been jailed for nine weeks.

In January, Joshua Spencer, aged 25, of Eddystone Rise, Knottingley, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to sending messages about the Pontefract, Normanton and Castleford MP on 11 April.

In addition to his jail time, Spencer was also given a restraining order which forbids him from contacting Ms Cooper or her former office manager for ten years.

Spencer stood as the Conservative council candidate in May last year.

In April 2019, he sent a Facebook message to a third party about Yvette Cooper that read: “I’m already organising her to her hurt. Amazing what crack heads will do for £100. I’m gonna get her beat up”

Ms Cooper was the subject of the malicious messages from Spencer

But despite his threatening messages, Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns gave Spencer a character statement.

It said he was a “decent and honest person whose heart is in the right place”.

In a statement submitted to the court Ms Cooper said there had been “several cases” where people have posted threats against her online.

But she said Spencer’s case was “different and more serious”.

She told the court: “In this case the individual lives in my constituency, has contacted me directly on a regular basis, is an active member of the local Conservative party and prominent in mainstream local politics in my constituency. I understand he denied responsibility for some considerable time and I am still not aware of any expression of remorse or regret.

“During the period in which the police were investigating he also continued to contact me and organised a hostile event outside my constituency office. Given the nature of the Facebook message and his continued behaviour, I and my office have had to take the threat very seriously.

“It is only three and a half years since my friend and colleague Jo Cox was killed while in her constituency. Threats of violence cannot be dismissed as banter between friends. Intimidation and violence has no place in our politics.”


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