A worker at the office of Rossendale and Darwen MP Jake Berry was left in fear for his safety after being threatened by a caller at the Kay Street premises.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard Benjamin Nuttall told the 20-year-old caseworker: “I will smack the s*** out of you and Jake Berry.”

Nuttall, 39, of Fairfield Avenue, Waterfoot, pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour towards John Greenwood.

He was remanded on bail until June 25 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Conditions of his bail include no contact with Mr Greenwood and not to go within 50 metres of the constituency office in Cheadle House, Kay Street, Rawtenstall.

A charge of harassing Mr Greenwood was withdrawn.

Carl Gaffney, prosecuting, said the incident happened at 10am on April 16.

Mr Greenwood was going about his duties as a caseworker when the door intercom was activated; Nuttall was outside and asked to speak to Conservative backbencher Sir Jake.

Mr Greenwood went to the front door intending to give the defendant a contact card which would help him make contact with the MP.

“He also intended to talk to him to see if they could help with his concerns,” said Mr Gaffney.

“When the door was opened the defendant gave his name and address and was asked by Mr Greenwood how he could help.

“He responded by saying he was fed up with all the lying in Parliament. He said he was scared of going to war and dying and that Covid was not real.”

Mr Gaffney said Nuttall became increasingly angry, worked up and agitated. He told Mr Greenwood not to get “cocky” with him and then made the threat to assault him and Mr Berry.

“Mr Greenwood was scared someone could change so quickly,” said Mr Gaffney.

“He believed what the defendant was saying and felt generally threatened. He tried to calm him down but he carried on.”

Mr Gaffney said the aggrieved said it was not just a case of an angry or disgruntled person.

“He made a direct threat towards me,” Mr Greenwood said in a statement. “I am familiar with previous violence against politicians and members of their staff.

"In the back of my mind, I look out for Mr Nuttall when I am going about my business or going out for lunch.”

In 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by a far-right white supremacist while at a surgery in her constituency; while in 2021 Tory Sir David Amess was murdered at a constituency surgery by an Islamic extremist. 

MPs across the country, especially women and ethnic minority politicians, have seen rising levels of abuse and threats in recent years, while in February a £31m package of measures designed to boost MPs’ security was announced by government.

David Lawson, in mitigation, said his client had mental health issues.

“He did go back the following day, pressed the intercom and apologised to Mr Greenwood,” said Mr Lawson.

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring said Nuttall had gone to the office intending to have a go at Mr Berry or his staff.

“It was not a momentary loss of temper,” said Mr Goldspring.

Nuttall will be back in court next month to be sentenced.