UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin is being investigated by police over comments he made suggesting that he “might” rape Labour MP Jess Phillips.
Benjamin said that he “wouldn’t even rape” Phillips, and has refused to apologise after backlash. He then went on to a release a video where he said that “with enough pressure I might cave” and rape her.
He said on his YouTube channel that, “there’s been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn’t rape Jess Phillips. I’ve been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her. I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let’s be honest, nobody’s got that much beer.”
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Police have received a report of malicious communications relating to MP Jess Phillips. Officers have spoken to Ms Phillips and the comments are being investigated to establish if an offence has taken place.”.
Benjamin has not apologised for his comments, but has on multiple occasions said that they were a joke. Saying that “any subject can be a subject of a joke”, and claimed on his Facebook page that the joke is more about the media and their “clickbait titles” than Phillips herself. He has more than once denounced mainstream media outlets as “dirty smear merchants”.
Phillips, who represents Birmingham Yardley, said that she “cried in the street” when she found out about the comments.
She said: “I realised that I did what all women do in these situations, I had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I can cope.
“It dawned on me that, for four years essentially, this man had made a career out of harassing me. And I felt harassed. I felt ‘how can somebody say that they would rape me if forced and be a legitimate candidate in an election?'”
She said it was “one thing when he was just some idiot off the internet” but now “it’s a different thing when he is standing on the same platforms I am standing on, that he will potentially go to a parliament himself as an elected representative”. I cannot believe our system is so weak at the moment that’s allowed to happen.”
After saying that Benjamin should not be allowed to stand in any election after the rape comments, he took to Facebook to call her a tyrant.