Man charged over alleged threats to anti-Brexit politicians

Former speaker John Bercow in the House of Commons

Former speaker John Bercow in the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

A man has been charged with sending threatening emails to a series of anti-Brexit politicians - including former Commons speaker John Bercow and European Movement leading campaigner Dominic Grieve.

Court documents show Paul Ritchie, 34, has been charged with nearly 30 counts of sending a letter, communication or article conveying a threatening message against a series of politicians.

Alleged victims include Bercow, Grieve, ex-Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, former home secretary Amber Rudd, one-time London mayoral candidate and ex-cabinet minister Rory Stewart, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, and current Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey.

Court documents show Ritchie is accused of sending former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn an email in March 2019 containing the message: “You should be hung for treason you f****** terrorist”.

The same month he allegedly sent an email to the speaker’s office, saying “1 in 17 million is bad odds for some nutter to pull a Jo Cox on you and your staff”, the indictment said, and a week later allegedly added in another email: “Be careful… [y]ou wouldn’t want to get run over”.

In other messages to Bercow’s office, Ritchie is alleged to have threatened: “I’m going to milkshake you you prick”, and made references to Brexit and democracy.

In an email on May 2019 to former politician Chuka Umunna, who represented several parties, Ritchie is alleged to have written: “You have been warned… shut your f****** mouth boy”.

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In July that year, he is said to have followed up with: “If you kill brexit… [w]e will kill you and your entire family”.

And he allegedly told Stewart in June 2019: “If you block Brexit… you like likely [sic] be assassinated”.

Court documents alleged he told Swinson she deserved to be hanged, he claimed to Rudd that she was “definitely going to be assassinated”.

In a couple of messages to Blackford in June 2019, court documents claim Ritchie sent the threats “I hope you die” and “I dare you to come to the pub in Westminster and say some of the shit you do in the house”.

A court official at Westminster Magistrates’ Court said Ritchie, of Dolphinton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, would be called to enter his pleas on February 25.

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