MPs' Probe Into Coronation Arrests Descends Into Slanging Match

Just Stop Oil protesters also interrupted MPs on the home affairs committee.
Daly, Wagner and Johnson
Daly, Wagner and Johnson
Parliament TV

A Commons’ probe into the policing of King Charles’ coronation descended into a slanging match as MPs traded insults with a lawyer.

Tory MPs on the home affairs committee argued with human rights lawyer Adam Wagner over the arrests of anti-monarchy protesters.

The meeting also had to be halted as Just Stop Oil activists interrupted the event wearing t-shirts emblazoned with their name.

MPs were supposed to be probing Scotland Yard and protesters over the policing of the coronation earlier this month.

However, the meeting turned personal when Wagner described Tory MP Tim Loughton’s line of questioning as “sinister”.

Loughton had asked Republic CEO Graham Smith if he agreed that taking a megaphone and loudspeaker to the coronation was “disruptive”.

But the barrister from Doughty Street Chambers said: “Mr Loughton’s questions for me were almost quite sinister and I don’t mean that as a personal point.

“The idea that you could not bring a loudspeaker to a protest - which is almost the bread and butter of mass protest - is really worrying.

“That’s the direction of travel that you have politicians saying well you were just trying to disrupt things with your loudspeaker. I think that’s really worrying for democracy.”

Tory MP James Daly hit back: “Mr Wagner you’re not here as a lawyer are you? You’re here as a political activist. You’re giving political opinions.

“Calling my colleague Mr Loughton sinister is a new one for this committee. If you are here as a political activist and you have set political views, it was up to the committee who they wanted to invite…”

He was interrupted by chair Dame Diana Johnson who said: “We invited Adam along because he worked with the joint committee on human rights, is a very distinguished lawyer and we wanted to have that expertise at this hearing.”

But Daly went on: “Calling members of parliament sinister…bit rude.”

When Johnson stressed that Wagner was a human rights expert, an MP thought to be Lee Anderson accused him of “insulting people” while an exasperated female MP could be heard muttering: “God’s sake”.

Johnson said: “Nobody’s insulting anybody in this room, let’s be clear about that. We’re not making this personal.

“We’re looking at the facts of what happened and we’re trying to get to the point where we understand decisions and why they were made.”

Wagner stressed his comment was not personal but stood by the fact he thought Loughton’s line of questioning was “sinister”.

Earlier in the meeting, the live feed was abruptly cut as Just Stop Oil protesters interrupted the hearing.

An error message appeared on the screen saying “the proceeding is currently suspended”.

The protesters made their intervention just as Loughton was quizzing the Met’s temporary assistant commissioner Matt Twist.

Tim Loughton rolls his eyes as Just Stop Oil interrupted the home affairs committee
Tim Loughton rolls his eyes as Just Stop Oil interrupted the home affairs committee
Parliament TV

When the footage resumed, Loughton said: “To be clear, they were Just Stop Oil protesters who tried to undermine the activities of this committee with our witnesses today.”

During the session, Twist denied their operation around King Charles III’s coronation was affected by political pressure.

“I felt under no pressure politically,” Twist told the home affairs committee.

“The stakes were enormously high, so I absolutely felt pressure to deliver a safe and secure operation, but that wasn’t political pressure.”

He also denied that officers had been overzealous, but accepted that they were “cautious” in the context of the enormity of the event.

He said that Republic protesters were arrested with luggage straps with combination locks on them, which was unusual for demonstrators to use to secure placards.

It took 16 hours to release them from custody because five of them had the same legal representative who had to go into interview with them one by one, Twist said.


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