A former Tory MP sparked a security alert in the Commons as he staged a one-man protest at Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
Christopher Gill, one of the infamous ‘Maastricht rebels’ under John Major, stood up in the Peers’ Gallery and started shouting at the Prime Minister as she ended her speech on Tuesday evening.
Gill, aged 82, yelled “Outrageous! You have defied the will of the people!” before Commons doorkeepers, the first line of security inside Parliament, intervened and ordered him to sit down and remain silent.
No one in the public or private galleries overlooking the chamber is allowed to speak or stand in protest during debate proceedings.
May had been congratulated by her Parliamentary aide, Seema Kennedy, as Gill stood up and delivered his outburst.
May and other Cabinet ministers looked up at the incident, which took place the second she finished her keynote address, but swiftly moved on after the intervention.
Immediately afterwards, Gill told HuffPost UK that he had wanted to make the point that May would ‘betray’ the country with her Brexit deal.
He had written what he planned to say on the back of an envelope.
“You have defied the will of the people. You have betrayed their trust in the democratic process and you are no longer fit to govern.
“So Go! Go QUICKLY and take your Mendacity and Perfidy with you!”
As a former MP, Gill has a Parliamentary security pass and access to the Peers’ Gallery, which gives spectators a bird’s-eye view of the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition.
He was an MP from 1987 to 2001 and was one of the nine Tory rebels who had the party whip withdrawn for voting against the Major government. He later quit the Tories and joined UKIP.
A glass partition was erected in front of the public gallery in the Commons after fathers rights group Fathers4Justice threw a purple powder bomb at Tony Blair in 2004. No such barrier exists for the Peers’ Gallery.