Man guilty of abusing Labour MP who supported a trans mum

A man has been given a suspended prison sentence after calling MP Clive Lewis, who had expressed support for a transgender woman facing online attacks for breastfeeding, a “paedophile”.

Paul Fogg, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending offensive messages, contrary to the 1988 Malicious Communications Act, at a hearing last November, and was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday (3 April).

Last July, Labour MP Clive Lewis was among several politicians who signed a petition in support of trans woman Mika Minio-Paluello after she became the focus of a harassment campaign because she breastfeeds her child – something that many trans women can do safely and naturally.

“Proud to have signed this,” Lewis wrote in a post on X/Twitter. “Bring your insults. It just strengthens our resolve.”

In response, Fogg used Facebook to call the Norwich South MP a “nonce and a paedophile” and accused him of not “caring about child safety”.

He then phoned the MP’s office and left a voicemail suggesting Lewis would “like to have a child sucking on his nipple.” He finished by saying: “I’m Paul Fogg, come and nick me.”

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Clive Lewis, in a blue suit and red tie, speaking during an event.
Clive Lewis was the victim of abuse following his support for breast-feeding transgender mothers.

The abuse followed Minio-Paluello’s appearance on ITV’s News at Ten, where she spoke about rising bills, commenting that it is “tough if you’re a mum”, The Standard reported.

The court heard that Fogg, who lives alone in Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, was drinking heavily at the time and had recently left his job as an asbestos-removal specialist because of back and stomach problems.

Lawyer Ian Fisher said his client was also suffering from social isolation and depression.

After learning about the MP’s support of Minio-Paluello, Fogg began to delve into various anti-trans comments left online, which “developed like wildfire”, Fisher added.

“He read the comments, followed the thread, started to get worked up and jumped on the bandwagon. [He] doesn’t have much of a social media platform himself, though he is not a man in a field in the dark shouting in the wind. But he doesn’t have much of a following.”

Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring labelled Fogg’s actions “abhorrent” and “in some ways disturbing” but acknowledged that it was a “one-off, borne from isolation, depression and alcohol.”

But he added: “People seem to think that MPs, because they put themselves in the public domain, should have a thicker skin. They are victims and should be treated as victims like anybody else.”

Fogg was sentenced to six weeks in prison, suspended for a year, and ordered to complete 20 rehab sessions, as well as pay £100 compensation to the MP, £85 costs and a £154 victim surcharge.

He was banned from contacting Mr Lewis or his constituency office.