Jacob Rees-Mogg booed by protesters in Birmingham
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Michael Fabricant has spoken out after social media users wrongly claimed he was physically assaulted by protestors on his way into the Conservative Party Conference today in Birmingham. The Tory MP clarified what had happened after a reporter for the Times claimed to have seen him get “pushed quite violently” on his way into the meeting. The Tory conference comes at an incredibly difficult time for the party as widespread criticism blasts the decision-making of new Prime Minister Liz Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng that nearly decimated pension funds across the country. The way into the Tory conference was lined with protestors chanting at everyone who went past.
Sharing a video of Mr Fabricant being shouted at as he approached the event, reporter Dom Hauschild said: “Just witnessed Conservative MP Michael Fabricant assaulted by protestors outside Tory conference. He was pushed quite violently (didn’t get this on video) and protestors screamed in his face. Really dark.”
He then shared another video, which he claims was taken “a moment before Fabricant was pushed over by a protester outside Conservative conference”.
However, Mr Fabricant has told a very different version of the story, suggesting that claims of full-blown assault were an exaggeration.
The MP said: “Social media is suggesting I was ‘attacked’ as I tried to get into CPC 2022. I was not. I was directed wrongly right into the middle of the protest. I think the protesters thought I was deliberately provoking them. But no one touched me. Just shouted abuse. They were just loud!”
He added that one protestor tried to blow a plastic horn in his ear, but Mr Fabricant “grabbed the horn and threw it away”. He also specified: “I was not pushed or shoved, nor did I fall over. As far as I could see, the crowd was noisy but self disciplined.”
The MP even commented: “We live in a democracy and people have every right to protest.”
Many commenters praised Mr Fabricant for his honesty and rational approach to the situation, with one saying “thank you for your honest view of this. Don’t agree with your politics but credit is where it’s due.”
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg had to be escorted across Victoria Square as protesters booed him. The protest on Sunday was organised by the People’s Assembly campaign group which said it was part of an “autumn offensive” against the Conservative Party.
One protester, Jane Elledge, 53, an IT trainer from Bromsgrove, told the Press Association she came as “enough is enough”. She added: “The kind of final straw is the announcement of the richest people getting a tax cut. Trickle-down economics doesn’t work.”
Last week saw Ms Truss’ first month as prime minister culminate in national controversy after Mr Kwarteng’s mini-budget prompted the pound to plummet to near-parity with the dollar, with sweeping knock-on effects including serious risk to pension funds.
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The announcements in the mini-budget included a package of support for families struggling with energy bills – but the decision to fund the package through borrowing, alongside a tax cut that primarily benefits the richest in the country, has attracted widespread criticism of the move.
The Labour party, who had their conference last week, saw a major polling boost over the Tories, reaching a 19 point lead according to an opinion poll by market research company Opinium. Multiple notable Conservatives have dropped out of the Conservative party conference, including Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, David Davis and Mel Stride.
Mr Sunak, Ms Truss’ former competition in the Conservative leadership race, said he was stepping back to allow the new PM to “own the moment”.
Ms Truss told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg she was confident her tax cutting package would boost economic growth. She added: “I do stand by the package we announced and I stand by the fact we announced it quickly, because we had to act.”
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