MP: Cologne sex attacks 'are like a night out in Birmingham'

A Birmingham MP has defended her claim that attacks on women like those seen in Cologne happen in Birmingham every week.

Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, provoked fury after comparing a night out in Birmingham’s Broad Street to the shocking New Years Eve attacks on women in Cologne as she spoke on BBC One show Question Time.

Refugees have been blamed for the attacks, and Ms Phillips was arguing that it was wrong to single out refugees because sexual assaults took place everywhere.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, she said:

Broad Street in Birmingham. Credit: West Midlands Police

It follows her appearance on BBC One show Question Time, where she took part in a panel which discussed whether it was right for European countries to take in refugees from war-torn countries such as Syria.

A member of the audience asked about attacks near Cologne’s railway station, when around 1,000 men launched what has been described as an “organised attack” against women.

Attackers were reported to be of North African or Arab in appearance, sparking debate in Germany because of the influx of more than a million migrants and refugees in the past year.

Ms Phillips told television viewers:

Police forces guard the area around the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany earlier this month after sex attacks. Credit: PA

Her comments triggered an angry response on Twitter, with some critics accusing her of exaggerating - and making Birmingham look bad.

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail, Ms Phillips added:

Police forces guard the area around the the central station of Cologne. Credit: PA

She had used Broad Street as an example of a place in the UK where this behaviour took place but it happened in every part of the country, she said.

There have been reports that the attacks in Cologne were organised, but Ms Phillips said she was not suggesting organised attacks took place