Brexit supporter admits assaulting Jeremy Corbyn
A Brexit supporter who egged Jeremy Corbyn while yelling “respect the vote” has admitted an assault charge.
John Murphy, 31, smacked the Labour leader with an egg after he visited a mosque in his Islington North constituency.
Mr Corbyn was “shocked and surprised” by the attack, which has prompted his team to work on increasing his security, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard on Monday.
Murphy, of Whetstone, in Barnet, north-west London, was warned by Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot that he may be jailed for assault by beating in order to send a clear message that “attacks on MPs must stop”.
Prosecutor Kevin Christie said Mr Corbyn was with Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott at the Muslim Welfare Centre in north London after visiting the Finsbury Park Mosque on March 3.
Mr Corbyn took off his shoes and sat down next to his wife Laura Alvarez and a group of people who seemed to be “in great spirits”.
“Suddenly, he felt a strike to the right side of his forehead and then realised someone had reached over his right shoulder and struck him,” Mr Christie said.
“As he was struck he heard a male voice shouting: ‘Respect the vote.'”
Mr Corbyn had left the room to wash himself when he realised he had been struck by an egg.
Murphy continued to shout “respect the vote” while being restrained by staff.
Mr Corbyn, who was largely uninjured but left with a red mark, noted Murphy’s face was “contorted” with rage and he appeared “very aggressive”.
In a victim impact statement read to court, the Labour leader said: “I was shocked and surprised when the assault occurred as I have always felt safe and secure at the Muslim Welfare House.
“The assault was completely unprovoked and threatening.
“Whilst I’m determined to make sure I’m able to interact with people as I always have, I now have to be more cautious.
“I feel these kinds of attacks drive a wedge between elected representatives and those who elected them in the first place. We are now reviewing and increasing my security protection.”
Remain-supporting politicians have spoken about heightened tensions turning into abuse and violence, with independent MP Anna Soubry saying she has been targeted by “very, very serious” death threats.
Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle said a man shouting “traitors” grappled with him and grabbed his glasses on the streets of Brighton in an attempted assault.
Prime Minister Theresa May has faced heavy criticism from MPs, who accused her of whipping up tensions and putting them at risk of physical attack after she blamed them for delaying Brexit in a Downing Street speech.
The attack on Corbyn came about a week after the party announced it would support a second referendum.
Ms Arbuthnot warned she is considering a short prison sentence for Murphy, who had been equipped with four further eggs.
“This is a public servant and attacks on MPs must stop. The message must go out – this must stop,” she said.
Malik Aldeiri, defending, said Mr Corbyn’s statement was “slightly over egged in the sense that Mr Corbyn himself hasn’t suffered any impact”, with the main concerns being from his family.
Murphy, of Totteridge Common, was bailed until later in the day when he may be sentenced.