A member of a banned neo-Nazi terror group is due in court today over an alleged plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper.
Christopher Lythgoe - reported to be a leader of the extreme right-wing organisation National Action - was charged yesterday with encouragement to commit murder in relation to the West Lancashire MP.
The 31-year-old from Warrington will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court this morning accused of the offence, as well as a separate charge of belonging to a proscribed group, the Press Association reported.
Five other men will also appear in court after being charged with being members of National Action, which became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned under terrorism laws in December 2016.
Under the proscription, being a part of the group or inviting support for the organisation is a criminal offence which can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.
The group of accused men includes a 22-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who is also charged with making threats to kill and intending to commit acts of terrorism.
According to The Times, prosecutors will allege that the younger man sought and received permission from Lythgoe to carry out an attack.
Cooper, who was first elected as an MP in 2005, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, especially the counter-terrorism police, for keeping me, my staff and the public safe.
“There remains an ongoing criminal investigation so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.”
A number of Labour MPs have come out in solidarity with Cooper, with David Lammy saying he would “happily stand up to the neo-Nazi scum” with his colleague:
The trial comes after counter-terrorism officers carried out a number of raids across England and Wales as part of an investigation into National Action.
In the official list of proscribed groups, National Action is described as a “racist neo-Nazi group” that was established in 2013.
It is also banned from operating as Scottish Dawn or NS131, which have been identified as alternative names the group has used, the Home Office said.
The group is “virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic” and its activities and propaganda materials are particularly aimed at recruiting young people, according to the document.
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: “A group of men have been charged as part of a national investigation into the group National Action.
“On Wednesday September 27 as part of co-ordinated activity, officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East and North West, supported by Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit and Wiltshire Police, executed a number of warrants and searched properties across England and Wales.”
The investigation marks almost a year since Nazi-admirer Thomas Mair was convicted of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in a terrorist attack.
The Batley and Spen MP was shot and stabbed as she left a constituency surgery in 2016.