'Helpful' MP threatened with arrest
Published 09/09/2010 | 13:48
An MP has revealed how he was threatened with arrest after he offered to remove two anti-war protesters who have climbed up the side of one of Parliament's buildings.
Tory Tobias Ellwood said he was greeted by the sight of the protest as he cycled towards the entrance to the House of Commons.
He said he was told the pair, who have unfurled banners on scaffolding saying "Troops Home", could not be removed because of health and safety fears.
Speaking during questions on future business in the Commons, Mr Ellwood (Bournemouth E) said it was a "strange day indeed" when an MP was threatened with arrest "whilst a protester sits on our roof having breached the security".
The former Army officer said: "I cycled into Parliament this morning, only to be greeted by yet another protester who had breached security and remains as we speak on the side of the scaffolding of this building.
"I then approached the police who were standing underneath and said 'Why hasn't an arrest been made?' and they came back with that British ubiquitous justification for inertia - health and safety.
"I then offered myself to go up and make a citizen's arrest and I was told to move on - or I would be arrested.
"It is a very strange day indeed in Parliament when an MP is threatened with arrest whilst a protester sits on our roof having breached the security."
Commons Leader Sir George Young commended the "robust response" of Mr Ellwood adding: "If you had been arrested I think all sorts of privilege might have been raised if you were going about your parliamentary duties.
"I very much regret there has been another breach of security in the Palace of Westminster. I understand the police are doing what they can to remove their placards and remove the protesters, but obviously they want to do so if they can without injury."