A former Labour Party parliamentary candidate who now works at a PR company alleged to be involved in a "coup" against leader Jeremy Corbyn has revealed a sinister threat he received which refers to the murdered MP Jo Cox. Kevin McKeever, partner at PR firm Portland Communications, says the note was delivered by hand to his office and he didn't speak out for a few days because he was afraid for the safety of his family.
McKeever's firm was named by union leader Len McCluskey as being behind the so-called "Chicken Coup" to have Jeremy Corbyn removed as Labour leader. Portland, claimed McCluskey, was a sinister Blairite organisation. Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 3 July) McCluskey said: "This is a PR company with strong links to Tony Blair, rightwing Labour MPs, who have been critically involved in this orchestrated coup." There is no suggestion McCluskey or his followers had any involvement in the threatening note.
In a statement on Facebook McKeever writes: "Many of you will have read posts on a blog suggesting a link between me, my workplace and the moves by Labour MPs in parliament. They have no basis in truth. I've made my personal views clear on our party's leadership.
"I have, however, been silent for the past few days due to a hand-delivered death threat, suggesting I should be 'coxed', a reference to the murder two weeks ago of Labour MP, Jo Cox. On the advice of the police and in the interests of the personal safety of me, my family, I will not be commenting further. We have a Labour Party to return to after this mess. I hope we all reflect."
Labour MPs spoke out in defence of McKeever following the apparent threat. Liz Kendall tweeted: "Disgraceful. Cowardly. And a betrayal of all we stand for. Kevin please know." Wes Streeting MP wrote: "This is an absolutely disgusting turn of events. Death threats: the new politics? Just grim."
The line "prepare to be coxed" appears to be a reference to murdered Labour MP Jo Cox in Birstall, near Leeds on 16 June. Local man Tommy Mair is to stand trial accused of Jo's murder in November.