A Conservative Party council candidate has been jailed for nine weeks for sending threats of violence surrounding Labour MP Yvette Cooper.
Joshua Spencer of Knottingley, West Yorkshire, pled guilty to the charge of sending an offensive and menacing message at Leeds Magistrates’ Court. The offence took place in April of last year, before he stood as a Knottingley council candidate for the Tories in May.
Spencer sent a message to a third party with the threats, calling Cooper a “whore” and stating that he was “organising to get her hurt.” Spencer would add that it was “amazing what crack heads will do for £100,” stating that he was “gonna get her beat up.”
His friend was so alarmed by the messages and tone of the conversation that he blocked Spencer and passed the information to his MP for Leeds, Hillary Benn.
Spencer was originally arrested on April 22nd last year before the local council elections. After initially denying the offence, he went on to claim that he couldn’t remember sending the messages following an investigation by police which included the seizure of his laptop.
Despite the violent and threatening nature of the messages, the Tory MP for Morley and Outwood Andrea Jenkyns outrageously gave Spencer a character statement, stating that he was a “decent and honest person whose heart is in the right place”. Jenkyns stood by her decision to give the thug a reference at court .
“I have known Joshua for a number of years. I stand by my decision to have given him a personal reference”Andrea Jenkyns MP
Speaking in a statement submitted to the court, Yvette Cooper stated that there had been several cases where individuals had threatened her online, but Spencer’s case was more serious.
“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 the banter between friends. Intimidation and violence have no place in our politics.”Yvette Cooper mp
On top of his nine-week sentence, Spencer has been given a restraining order which forbids him from contacting either Yvette Cooper or her former office manager Jade Botterill for ten years.
Main Image: Yvette Cooper, 2016 Labour Party Conference | Rwendland