A Labour MP who was the target of a neo-Nazi murder plot has called on the home secretary to consider Diplock trials by judges without juries for terrorism cases.
Rosie Cooper, the MP for West Lancashire, made the plea as she spoke in the House of Commons about her ordeal for the first time, receiving tributes and applause from other MPs.
She spoke out the day after it emerged that Jack Renshaw, 23, her would-be killer, would not face a second retrial over charges that he was a member of the banned National Action group.
Renshaw, from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, had admitted making preparations to kill Cooper, his local MP, in 2017 and making a threat to kill Victoria Henderson, a police officer who was investigating him. However, he denied membership of the banned extreme rightwing group National Action, and the jury could not reach a verdict on the charge for a second time. Renshaw is still to be sentenced.
The plot happened a year after the Labour MP Jo Cox was fatally stabbed and shot by the far-right extremist Thomas Mair.
In the Commons, Cooper thanked an undercover operative, Robbie Mullen, and the anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate, which uncovered the plot, saying: “Without their actions, I might not be here.”
She added: “I would like to make a serious point. I was to be murdered to send a message to the state. Members of this house are regularly abused and attacked – our freedoms, our way of life, our democracy is under threat, and we must do our utmost to defend it. Whilst the home secretary is in his place, perhaps I might ask him to consider the Diplock process for terrorist trials.”
MPs applauded her speech and John Bercow, the Speaker, said the Commons had “the most enormous respect and admiration for the honourable lady for displaying courage and fortitude [of] which many people and probably most of us can only dream”.
“Faced with an explicit and very real threat to her life from neo-Nazis, she has not wilted,” Bercow said.
The home secretary, Sajid Javid, said Cooper had “the support of the whole house and beyond, and we absolutely stand with every word she has just shared with the house”.
However, he did not comment on whether he would consider Diplock trials, which were extremely controversial when routinely used to try thousands of Northern Ireland terrorist suspects without juries between 1973 and 2007.
The non-jury courts were introduced in Northern Ireland after a review by the then law lord Kenneth Diplock, but were opposed by human rights groups as well as nationalists and republicans.
The IRA targeted judges and magistrates operating the Diplock system. Lord Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife were killed in 1987 by a bomb.
• This article was amended on 4 April 2019. An earlier version contained a misspelling of Robbie Mullen’s family as Mullins.