|Michael Roby outside the magistrates' court|
Yesterday a man appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court to answer a public order offence in relation to an incident outside the constituency office of Jess Phillips. As you'll recall, the man reportedly kicked the front door and yelled "fascist". Poor Jess was left feeling "jumpy, worried and frightened" after the incident, despite the fact she was in London when it happened. Michael Roby, 36, pleaded guilty and was fined £40, but will have to fork out over £200 after being ordered to pay £135 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge. There was no damage inflicted on the property and despite some staff being inside at the time, the office was actually closed to the public.
Mr Roby had been angry with the MP over her anti-Brexit stance. However, he is not one of Phillips's constituents and had travelled several miles to the office from Billesley, south Birmingham. Birmingham narrowly voted Leave in 2016, but Phillips's constituency of Yardley returned a big Leave vote of 60%. Outside court Mr Roby told reporters that he had "stood up for democracy".
Jess later appeared on local radio to give her reaction (wonder if she plugged her book?) and also claimed in a tweet that she had requested leniency from the magistrate.
"I asked for leniency because I want to meet him, I want to hear what he has to say, so I requested leniency so we could sit down and talk. This man is the same age as me, grew up streets away from me, I know people who know him. I do not believe we cannot find common ground".
Given her track record of being somewhat economical with the truth, he probably didn't grow up near her, she probably doesn't know anyone who knows him, but what we can state for certain is that they are "not the same age" as there is actually a two year age gap!