POLITICS

Labour MP Jess Phillips, Who Received Rape Threats After Row With Tory MP Over 'Men's Day', Says She Won't Be Forced Off Twitter

01/11/2015 13:01 GMT | Updated 01/11/2015 13:59 GMT
Sky News

A Labour MP who received rape threats after objecting to a parliamentary "Men's Day" debate has said she will not quit social media despite the "deluge" of "vile" abuse she has received.

Jess Phillips told Sky News's Murnaghan programme that while she was "quite tough" and did not feel threatened, police and publishers should take extreme online comments to task as not everyone has a "big voice".

After Ms Phillips objected to Tory MP Philip Davies’ calls for an International Men’s Day Commons debate “in the spirit of gender equality,” the Birmingham Yardley MP was sent a slew of degrading comments on Twitter.

She revealed on Sky News that despite "blocking more people on Twitter than I follow", she was also getting abuse emailed directly to her.

"I absolutely love Twitter and I won't let this force me off there," she said. "I think it's a brilliant way you can have direct contact with people - the other side of the world, famous people or politicians. But you can't say anything now without a deluge of people saying vile things about you."

Ms Phillips, a mother of two sons, added: "If any of these people were faced with me they wouldn't dare say these things. I'm not sitting cowering in my home thinking anyone who is talking about raping me is actually going to do it.

"I'm not scared. They would never say this stuff to my face because I am quite tough. People know that. People are having a go at me specifically because some of the men's rights activist groups think I am a woman who is quite tough."

But she added when questioned about speaking out: "It's the people who don't have that big voice, that's the reason we have to do it (speak out)."

Mr Davies, who was last week criticised for speaking for 90 minutes in Parliament to block legislation to afford carers free parking in hospitals, called for a dedicated men's day at a committee that determines backbench MP debates.

But Ms Phillips, who pointed for the need for public services to be tailored to the needs of vulnerable men and said she has first-hand experience of male suicide, said: "I don't think anyone is going to think Philip Davies is the bastion of equality. He came to have a go at the fact we have an International Women's Day. Anyone who thinks he's a great carer of these men's issues should look at his voting record."

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