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Patel makes ‘insincere’ apology over Tory activist's online threats to Labour MP

HOME SECRETARY Priti Patel was accused of insincerity yesterday after saying she was “hugely apologetic” for a Tory activist who threatened to pay “crackheads” to harm a Labour MP.

Former Tory council candidate Joshua Spencer, 25, was sentenced to nine weeks’ imprisonment for sending “menacing communications” to former Cabinet minister Yvette Cooper and handed a 10-year restraining order at Leeds magistrates’ court on Friday.

Mr Spencer, who is one of Ms Cooper’s constituents, wrote in April that he was working to get her “hurt” over her opposition to a no-deal Brexit, adding: “Amazing what crackheads will do for £100. I’m going to get her beat up.”

She criticised the Tory Party’s response to the case but said she had received apologies from the local Conservative association.

In the Commons, Ms Patel announced her apologies and condemnation on behalf of the party, before claiming that SNP MP Joanna Cherry was “chuckling away.”

Ms Cherry could be heard saying: “I am laughing because you’re being insincere.”

Ms Patel insisted: “I am absolutely sincere in my remarks and I am so sorry and it’s quite shameful that [Ms Cherry] is being quite insincere.”

Later, during a debate on the Windrush compensation scheme, Ms Patel said reparations are a “vital and important step in righting” the “terrible mistake by successive governments” that led to wrongful deportations and denial of rights.

Complaining that the scheme was moving too slowly, Labour MP Thangnam Debbonaire said: “Some of my constituents have died waiting for their compensation that they were promised, and their relatives are still unclear as to whether any of that will be resolved.”

Ms Patel said the Home Office was awaiting the publication of the independent Lessons Learned review and plans to make the compensation system simpler for claimants.


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