Workington's Mark Jenkinson has said vile abuse directed to MPs is “awful to see and it needs to stop” after a district councillor was jailed for sending a chilling email which referenced him.
Allerdale Borough Council member for Maryport South, 37-year-old Peter Little, was initially handed a suspended prison sentence by magistrates in August. He had threatened neighbours over a parking dispute before directing vile and homophobic abuse towards police officers when taken into custody.
But just 11 days after being spared jail, Little sent a menacing late night email to Allerdale chief executive Andrew Seekings. In that, Little stated to Mr Seekings: “Never contact me again. I’m ready to destroy this council. You and the MP are ****ed.”
Workington magistrates’ court heard the chief executive had previously tried to fast-track counselling for ex-military man Little as he sought to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Mr Seekings was left “disappointed” by the email, and “weighed down“ by the context of it and contact he’d had with Little.
Cumbria Constabulary and the Metropolitan Police were informed — the latter because Workington MP Mark Jenkinson was mentioned. Little later claimed the email was “nothing personal”, that there was no malice behind it and insisted he hadn’t been angry at the time.
He admitted an offence under the Communications Act, accepted he shouldn’t have sent the email, said his lawyer, and was jailed for 18 weeks.
Passing sentence, District Judge Mark Hadfield told him:
Speaking after the sentencing and in the wake of Sir David Amess’s killing last Friday, Mr Jenkinson said: “It is not uncommon to receive abuse. Certainly people wish me dead, if nothing else! We’ve had a few incidents we’ve had to report to the police over time.”
Of the email sent by Little — a councillor — the MP stated: “That’s what makes it all the more disappointing in this case, that he is elected by the people of Maryport, who he’s now let down so badly on a number of occasions, not just the once. It wasn’t just a slip. This is a sustained campaign of hatred towards anybody and everybody, it would seem.”
Mr Jenkinson added: “I’ll take advice throughout from Cumbria police but I came to office pledging to be the most accessible MP Workington has had. I believe that I’m doing that. I’ve made some choices about office location and office visibility. I’ve just been on a summer surgery tour around the small villages in my constituency. I don’t anticipate any changes in the future although I’ll take advice from Cumbria police on an individual basis.
“I don’t and can’t expect Parliament’s ring of steel to come to Workington.