MP “not bothered” by Commons protestors

  • The first MP to testify in the trial of the “Westminster Eight” has said he was not upset or agitated by the incursion onto the floor of the Commons by the eight pro-hunt protestors.

    Owen Paterson, who represents North Shropshire, admitted he was surprised by the first invasion of the Chamber since that of Charles the First more than 300 years ago.

    But he added: “It didn’t cause me any anxiety. It was quite obvious who these people were, they were hunt protestors who had somehow got through.

    “They didn’t really know what to do and the doormen removed them in the standard manner.”

    Mr Paterson, first elected in 1997, was sitting on the Opposition front bench during the second reading of the Fox Hunting Bill on September 15 last year.

    TV footage shows the protestors confronting Home Affairs minister Alun Michael wearing t-shirts with the slogan “FCUK THE BAN” before being dragged away.

    But the men have told Bow Street Magistrates the demonstration was intended to be peaceful and no-violent and denied attacking the guards.

    “I wasn’t in the least bit bothered by the incident,” restated Mr Paterson. The trial continues with Alun Michael, former Rural Affairs Minister due to give evidence at 3pm today.

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