Labour MP: Gang Sex Attacks in Cologne ‘Very Similiar’ to Average Weekend in Birmingham

Jess Phillips

Calls have been made for Labour MP Jess Phillips to step down after she likened the mass sex attacks which took place in Cologne on New Year’s Eve to an average weekend night in central Birmingham. In fact, Police statistics show that Birmingham experienced the same number of attacks in one year as Cologne did in one night.

Speaking on the BBC’s current affairs panel show Question Time last night, Jess Phillips — the MP for Birmingham Yardley — responded to an audience question on mass migration by saying:

“There is violence against women and girls that you are describing, a very similar situation to what happened in Cologne could be described on Broad Street in Birmingham every week where women are baited and heckled.

“We have to attack what we perceive as being patriarchal culture coming into any culture that isn’t patriarchal and making sure we tell people not to be like that.

“But we should be careful in this country before we rest on our laurels when two women are murdered every week.”

659 women were victimised in Cologne on New Year’s Eve by gangs of migrant men. Harrowing testimonies emerged over the next few days, including stories of girls who had every shred of clothing torn from their bodies, and others who were gang raped. The victims reported that the assailants were “exclusively foreign men”.

Hundreds of others, both men and women were groped forcefully and had all their belongings, including wallets and electronics, stolen by the marauding gangs.

In total, 821 complaints were made to the police in Cologne alone, and a further 500 or so across the country. 200 complaints of a similar nature were made in Hamburg. Similar attacks were also reported in France, Sweden and Finland.

By contrast, figures from West Midlands Police show that there were 803 “violent and sexual offences” reported in Birmingham city centre across a whole year, between December 2014 and November 2015.

Ms Phillips has come under widespread criticism for her comments, with many taking to Twitter to demand an apology and her resignation.

Mike Olley, who looks after Broad Street in his role as manager of the Westside Business Improvement District told the BBC: “It’s preposterous, ill-informed nonsense actually. It’s a throwaway line from someone who hasn’t got as much of a grasp as people – particularly myself – who work in the area.”

But not everyone was critical of Ms Phillips. Left wing commentator Dan Hodges mounted a half-hearted defence, suggesting that she ought not be criticised for “speaking her mind,” following it up with a slur against Birmingham.

Earlier in the program Ms Phillips said that Britain should take as many refugees as we can, including 3,000 migrant children already in Europe.

Meanwhile in Germany, migrants are being handed manuals upon arrival which instruct them not to grope women, and in Finland the government is backing voluntary classes for migrants instructing them that dancing with a women in a nightclub does not automatically mean she wants sex.

Follow Donna Rachel Edmunds on Twitter: or e-mail to:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.