Rosie Cooper Labour MP
Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire

Two alleged members of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action have appeared in court in connection with a plot to murder a Labour MP with a Roman sword.

Christopher Lythgoe, 31, is accused of encouraging the murder of Rosie Cooper, the MP for West Lancashire.

He appeared via video link for a hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday (3 November) alongside a 22-year-old man, who cannot be named, who has been charged with the intention of committing an act of terrorism and making a threat to kill.

The younger man is accused of having purchased a "Gladius machete" between 5 June and 3 July of this year to be used to kill Cooper MP, and accused of threatening to kill a police officer.

Lythgoe, from Warrington, is accused of giving the 22-year-old defendant instruction on 1 July to murder the 67-year-old MP in the name of National Action.

The pair have also been charged with belonging to a proscribed organisation – namely National Action – along with four other men, who also appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday via videolink.

They are Garron Helm, 24, of Seaforth, Merseyside; Matthew Hankinson, 23, of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside; Andrew Clarke, 33, of Warrington; and Michael Trubini, 35, also of Warrington.

The six men watched the proceedings in silence as the court heard case preparation submissions, before being remanded in custody.

Their trial is to go ahead next year at Woolwich Crown Court on a date to be fixed on 9 April.

In a statement after the men were charged, Cooper said: "I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, especially the counter-terrorism police, for keeping me, my staff and the public safe.

"There remains an ongoing criminal investigation so it would not be appropriate for me to comment further."

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be proscribed under UK terrorism laws in December 2016. The ban means being a member or inviting support for the organisation can lead to up to 10 years' imprisonment.

Speaking after announcing the ban, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "National Action is a vile, racist, homophobic and antisemitic group, which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred while promoting their poisonous ideology."

Roman Gladius
A actor holds a replica Roman gladius