POLITICS
07/05/2019 11:59 BST | Updated 08/05/2019 08:58 BST

Man Tells MP Jess Phillips ‘People Should Be Able To Joke About Raping Her’

He is alleged to run have down the street shouting: ‘I pay your wages’

Labour MP Jess Phillips has been confronted by a member of the public who asked why jokes couldn’t be made about raping her because “I pay your wages”.

It comes after police said they were investigating comments made by Carl Benjamin, who is standing for UKIP in the European elections, after he released a video suggesting he might rape Phillips.

Benjamin – who is in the race to become MEP for the south west – had previously tweeted that he “wouldn’t even rape” the Birmingham Yardley MP.

But in a recent video on his Sargon of Akkad YouTube channel, he said that “with enough pressure I might cave”.

On Tuesday, Phillips wrote on Twitter about her encounter with a man in Westminster. 

She wrote: “Just leaving Westminster and and man ran down the street along side me asking me about why Carl Benjamin shouldn’t be able to joke about my rape. Shouting ‘I pay your wages’.”

West Midlands Police said they had received a report of a malicious communication and were investigating whether an offence had been committed.

Benjamin had said: “There’s been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn’t rape Jess Phillips.

“I’ve been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her. I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let’s be honest, nobody’s got that much beer.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday, Phillips said she broke down in tears after hearing about the MEP candidate’s comments.

“I realised that I did what all women do in these situations – I had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope,” she said.

“It dawned on me that, for four years essentially, this man had made a career out of harassing me. And I felt harassed.”

BBC
Labour MP Jess Phillips speaking on the Victoria Derbyshire programme on Tuesday 

Phillips added: “It was one thing when he was just some idiot off the internet with a load of bros following him,” she said.

“It’s a different thing when he’s standing on the same platforms that I’m standing on, that he will potentially go to parliament himself as an elected representative when he’s said these things.

“And I just cannot believe that our system is so weak at the moment that that is allowed to happen.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “Police have received a report of malicious communications relating to MP Jess Phillips.

“Officers have spoken to Ms Phillips and the comments are being investigated to establish if an offence has taken place.”