Jess Phillips MP

In tribunal hearing over the stopping of her benefits, a judge refused to believe representations on behalf of a frail woman because her MP put an ‘X’ in the email.

If that sounds unbelievable, you’re not alone in thinking it.

Labour MP Jess Phillips, who released details of the case yesterday since it involved her, described the situation as “unacceptable”.

She disclosed that the “frail woman” had come to see her at her MP’s surgery to discuss the cessation of her Personal Independent Payments.

The MP then took up her case and forwarded information to the Department for Work and Pensions, sending an email back to the constituent to reassure her.

Hi [name redacted]

Hope you are well and are keeping smiling. Below is the email trail with the DWP, I will let you know as soon as I hear anything.

Jess

X

That ‘X’ at the end of the email was then used by the judge at the hearing to deny representation to the woman from her MP.

He wrote in his judgement

Both the familiarity of the wording, and the fact Ms Phillips places a kiss after her name, indicate a relationship of affection and friendship which goes beyond the parameters of a merely professional relationship.

In evaluating the contents of her email, we did so on the basis that Ms Phillips was writing as a friend rather than in a professional capacity.

Jess Phillips MP is understandably shocked, calling the situation “unacceptable”.

 

 

She has now sent a letter to Michael Gove (because of the behaviour of the judge, she told Political Scrapbook).

She wrote:

The people I see in front of me are human. Many come to see me simply because everyone else has treated them as a liar, a pain, a drain on resources. I will not do this.

… Should the judge in this case have considered that because I do not speak to Mrs [redacted] like an automaton, because I showed her just the briefest kindness, should my professional capacity be called into question?

Good questions.

These are the kinds of excuses judges use to sanction people on benefits

 

  1. It’s rather unprofessional to respond to a constituent in such a way. I can understand the judge’s confusion as it does look like this is a more personal communication than one from an MP to a constituent.

    But surely the judge should have sought out clarification rather than just dismissing a case?

    Either way, neither the judge nor the MP come out of this looking very good.

  2. Dan Wilkinson says:

    I don’t understand the judge’s confusion. They are supposed to be intelligent people with the ability to use their discretion wisely. I don’t think the judge is stupid, but I do think he or she must be a Tory.

  3. I work in an MP’s office and constituents appreciate MPs being caring and friendly in their language. As Jess said in her tweet, MPs are humans too!

    This wasn’t a formal letter, it was an email and is a different etiquette – doesn’t mean not being professional! Absolutely ridiculous decision.

  4. Scousebadger, it’s not unprofessional, it’s completely appropriate in the context. No one should really have to explain why (it’s like pulling teeth), so the onus of proof is on you. Explain to us, what’s unprofessional about an MP adopting a friendly tone with a distressed constituent in a cover email to go with some documents?

    Even if it HAD been, it wouldn’t be an appropriate criteria for the judge to make his judgement on, because how could it possibly effect the merits of the case? But it wasn’t.

  5. Once again we see how some judges are so far removed from the real world.

    Does it matter if the MP was representing the person as an constituent or a friend? Surely the representation and the points made in that representation are what counts.

    Maybe I’m mistaken

  6. Emails from the chairman of my local football club to me aometimes contain an x, which reflects his touchy-feely personality, not the state of our “relationship”.

    It’s a sad day for humanity when a citizen is penalised because her MP showed compassion. To me this x is no more significant than a comforting hug.

    Or perhaps the judge thinks that when a barrister put a comforting hand on my shoulder in court many years ago, he was actually coming on to me?

  7. I also used to work for an MP and the tone of messages when dealing with often stressed and worried constituents needs to show empathy and consideration for their plight whilst still remaining professional. This judge has totally missed the point, and should have considered the MP’s roles, responsibilities and official status before obsessing about the validity of an “x”

  8. Scousebadger is probably a Corbynista. They hate Jess because she mouthy, working class and from Brum.

  9. The judge is a ass.

    But either way, Jess’ email was irrelevant to the judge’s decision re stopping the defendant’s benefits.

  10. It would appear that any reason (excuse) will be adopted in our Governments aim to rid society of all benefit claimants. Disgusting behaviour. Instead of clarifying detail, this judge jumped to the conclusion that there was a friendship which went beyond the MP’s professional stance. Didn’t know that MP’s weren’t allowed to care about or show compassion to their constituents.

  11. To care, to show compassion and understanding, to share the distress of another and to take action, is I think what we want of all our MPs.

  12. Without knowing what was the information the MP provided for the constituent’s case, we don’t have the complete picture, so don’t pre-judge the judge

  13. The more I read the more corrupt theses nazis get week after week how many more deaths or suicides dose it take …….these assesers are not proper doctors and proper doctors would not put there profesion on the line …..pure corruption. …first atos now theses clowns ….one day like the nazis somone will be held for the deaths .ids has already done a runner cos he knows what’s comming .

  14. The tories have a unit dedicated to this – nudging. Being more human. Or is that just all part of the con?

  15. james clayton says:

    why not send a letter to this judge with an x on it and stop her wages, what an *****************************

  16. Unbelievable, if the judge felt the “X” was inappropriate why not explain to the MP after he’d done his job properly and looked at the evidence. He could explain to the MP he felt the “X” was unprofessional and state how it looked. Not punish the old lady that needed the help. Even if the MP did know the constituent so what!

  17. THE TORIES ARE ALL TIED UP IN THE NAZI IDEAL OF THE EU THEY DONT GIVE A DAM ABOUT THE PEOPLE ON BENEFITS JUST SANCTION THEM ANY WAY YOU CAN I AM SURE THE JOB CENTRES ARE PAID A BONUS EVERY TIME THEY SANCTION SOMEONE ANY EXCUSE WILL DO I BET THEY DARE NOT GIVE A NUMBER FOR HOW MANY THEY HAVE DONE THIS TOO AND THEN PUT THAT NUMBER BACK ON THE COUNT FOR THE UNEMPLOYED WHICH KEEPS ON GOING DOWN WITH PEOPLE STILL OUT OFF WORK ITS THE SANCTIONS THATS WHY THEY ARE TRAITORS TO THIS COUNTRY

  18. Corruption of British judges knows no bounds. Judge said that the MP is biased. Let’s have a look at the criminality, corruption, dishonesty of so many judges in Employmet Tribunals. Did you know that judges who have been formally declared ‘biased’ by Employment Appeal Tribunal do not disclose this fact to Claimants? What about my right as a Claimant to be judged by unbiased judges (clause 6 of ECHR)? What about my right to believe that “once a criminal always a criminal” (and I believe that a biased judge is a criminal)? Conservatives believe exactly this about criminals from among us natives, why can’t I apply same to Conservative Judges? Would you like to buy a house for your growing family and not be told that a convicted paedophile lives next door? The privileges of the judges of the Conservative Party! (they cheat accordingly).

  19. Judge said that MP is too involved with the woman? “Biased MP”? Just read this. A woman claimed in Employment Tribunal against her local Tory-controlled county council. An allegedly corrupt Regional Employment Judge (SFO refuses to investigate my formal complaints, typical Conservative cover-up: simply they would not correspond with me at all) appoints to the Tribunal as a trade union representative a lackey who is (all this unknown, of course, to Claimant) (1) Employee of said Council (2) By now or in future pensioner of said Council (3) An active politician serving and soon to stand yet again for elections on a district council which gets all its money directly from this County Council (4) Being from L.-D. Party then in national coalition with Tories and supporting same policies which caused the persecution of employee (5) Being a leader in a trade union which has been established 25 years earlier for the purpose of breaking strikes of another trade union. See next e-mail for more.

  20. So just look how Conservatives work : it is always against the honest simple citizen. They never have a problem, those allegedly cheating Conservative judges, to say one minute that the law says / requires one thing, and next minute that it says / requires the opposite. But there is a common denominator : always to favour the Establishment at the expense of the small honest citizen.
    Of course, in Employment Tribunals, there is a limit of 42 days to submit an appeal. But do crooks give you information in advance or at all ? – never. Takes even years to discover all that, by which times all formal avenues for appeal / complaint inside the system are time-barred. I put a complaint to the SFO, including other matters and other cases, but SFO are an arm of our corrupt Government : they investigate only alleged corruption which the Government orders them to investigate, never the corruption of the Government itself.

  21. (6) In his local trade union, he is in charge of negotiating with the same county council against which the Claim was and about which he sits as a judge (7) His trade union is under attack from the proper trade union, and haemorrhaging membership so that it is near extinction. He needs to bring results to his members from his negotiations with this county councils, or they will join the rival union (8) He and his union are permanently declaring, in the Constitution, that their members will never go on strike, whatever, because every problem can be amicably solved by talking to the employer. Can you imagine employers agreeing that the employer side will be represented by an employer who declares himself against any sacking of workers, because any issue with any worker can be discussed by talking to the worker or union? (9) Though not having legal qualifications, this chap makes money from representing workers in Employment Tribunals. All this is supposed to lead to an unbiased judge…

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