Brexiteer Tory MP dons body camera in bid to name and shame abusive protestors outside Parliament
A Brexiteer Tory MP has begun wearing a body camera in a bid to record abusive behaviour by protestors gathered outside Parliament.
David T C Davies said he would be wearing the device whenever he walked near Westminster for "protection and evidential purposes" after being ill-treated by Remain-backing protestors.
It comes after pro-Remain MP Anna Soubry was heckled by protesters calling her a “liar” and a “Nazi” during a live interview on the BBC.
Video footage later emerged of the small crowd of Leave supporters who had been directing the chants in the Broxtowe MP's direction.
The same men then angrily confronted the MP as she made her way to Parliament, at one point calling her a "fascist".
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Davies said he planned to upload the footage to video sharing site YouTube so the public could see what MPs are being subjected to.
“I and presumably many other MPs have been subjected to a lot of abuse when we’ve been doing interviews here,” he told BBC Newsnight.
“In the last couple of interviews I’ve done I’ve had people threatening to come and find me – ‘We know where you live’ – people in my face swearing at me. I’ve been called scum, I’ve had flagpoles shoved near my face.
“It’s interesting that only since it started happening, totally unacceptably, by some alleged far right thugs towards some other MPs now suddenly it’s become common knowledge but we all know [and the BBC knows] this has been going on for at least a year now.”
Mr Davies defended the right to protest but warned the public would take a dim view of abusive behaviour aimed at MPs.
He added:"I'm not for one minute suggesting [protests] shouldn't happen... I would say to anyone who supports Brexit as I do, please do not lower yourself to these levels of behaviour because when the public looks on - the public are fair-minded people whether they are for or against [Brexit] - they see that sort of behaviour and they are absolutely repelled by it."
He said the body camera would also be used to ward off malicious allegations by protestors if he was forced to push objects like placards and flags away from him.
At least 55 parliamentarians have signed a letter to Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick demanding better protection for MPs from “abuse, intimidation and threatening behaviour.”
Meanwhile, Commons Speaker John Bercow also called on officers to do more, telling MPs: "Peaceful protest is a vital democratic freedom, but so is the right of elected members to go about their business without being threatened or abused, and that includes access to and from the media stands in Abingdon Green.
"I am concerned at this stage about what seems to be a pattern of protest targeted in particular - I don't say exclusively - at women."
Mr Davies also hit out at the protestors targeting Ms Soubry, saying they were not “doing any favours” for the Brexit cause but warned that some pro-EU protestors had also turned abusive.
“I cannot condemn their behaviour enough,” he said. “If the pro-EU people want to behave in the same way, which they sometimes do, I’m going to record it and I’ll stick it on YouTube and we can see and judge them for ourselves.”