Sir Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, was so alarmed about the elderly group delivering a petition to his Purley constituency office he called the police A Conservative MP called police for protection after a group of pensioners visited him to protest the Governmentâ€™s Lobby Bill.
Sir Richard Ottaway, MP for Croydon South, was so alarmed about the elderly group delivering a petition to his Purley constituency office he called for back up.
But after being met by police before a discussion with the politician on the driveway, the pensioners said Sir Richard was more intimidating than them.
Liz Marsden, 39, a Friends of the Earth volunteer who arranged the visit, said she had arranged the appointment to present the petition and told Sir Richard she would be bringing other campaigners.
She told the Evening Standard: â€œSir Richard thought it was an open invitation to anyone in the country to come to his office, but I tried to tell him it wasnâ€™t.
â€œWhen we arrived the police cars were on the drive and the police came out and spoke to us, but they could see we were a bunch of pensioners and generally nice, responsible people.
â€œSir Richard met us on the way to his car but he was a bit brusque. The 81-year-old lady in our group thought he was a bit intimidating, more intimidating than we were to him.â€
Sir Richard said he had grown worried after he found out it was not just Liz Marsden delivering the signatures and she failed to give him assurances about security issued.
He said he had notified the local police of a possible protest â€œout of concern for my two staff and the five or so other constituents who had appointments with meâ€
Sir Richard maintained that he would do the same thing again if he was faced with a situation where an unknown number of people may attend his office.
MP calls for police back up to protect him from pensioners
See also - â€˜Brave Sir Richard ran awayâ€™ says 81 year old pensioner.
And - Tory MP calls police on handful of retired constituents delivering petition against lobbying bill â€˜gagging lawâ€™
Mrs Marsden, who is a Friends of the Earth volunteer, told The Independent his behaviour was a bit cowardly and added: â€œThe irony is we were handing in a petition against the lobbying bill.â€
The controversial bill, which aims to stop organisations from having undue influence on political parties, has been dubbed the â€˜gagging lawâ€™ by some who believe it will threaten free speech, silencing charities and campaigners in the run up to elections.
She added:â€It is ironic that the gagging bill is motivated by a fear of people taking part in democracy, and our group was made up of interested constituents trying to talk to their MP and he wouldnâ€™t let our voices be heard.
â€œI think he had in his head that we were raging campaigners, but we were a group of people who were mostly retired and all aligned with charities. If heâ€™d looked out the window he would have seen that we were just a group of responsible citizens. The bill is fearful and draconian: it seems that the government would just rather have everything done their way and what happened here seemed to mirror that.â€