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January 14, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:21am

Jeremy Paxman: MPs concerned about protesters outside Parliament are ‘snowflakes’

By James Walker

Journalist and author Jeremy Paxman has dubbed politicians “snowflakes” for complaining about abuse from Brexit protesters outside Parliament.

The former BBC Newsnight host described the comments hurled by some protesters outside Parliament as “nasty and profoundly stupid” before suggesting that such things had “always happened” at hustings.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Paxman added: “Have we really got such a bunch of snowflakes in Parliament that they can’t face hearing from the people who pay their wages?”

Videos posted on social media last week showed protesters hounding Tory MP Anna Soubry and the Guardian journalist Owen Jones following broadcast interviews at studio tents on College Green, Westminster.

Soubry was branded both a “liar” and a “Nazi” while Jones was called a “tampon”, “a horrible little liar” and a “disgrace”.

Both Soubry and Jones were heckled by protesters during broadcast interviews on College Green and followed down the street.

More than 60 MPs wrote to Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick raising “serious concerns” about the incidents, alleging that an “ugly element of individuals” had “increasingly engaged in intimidatory and potentially criminal acts targeting members of parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public”.

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One of the “yellow vest” protesters outside Parliament last week, James Goddard, was arrested by police in London this weekend over an alleged public order offence. He since been released on bail.

Broadcasters told Press Gazette last week that they had “no plans” to leave College Green in the wake of the incidents.

The Sunday Times has since reported that authorities are looking at increasing broadcaster access to areas of Parliament over safety concerns around interviews taking place on College Green.

Speaking to Press Gazette last week, Channel 4 News editor Ben De Pear said: “This is a whole new order where these people are deliberately trying to provoke a response.

“They’re not just doing it to politicians. They’ve also been doing it to reporters and media staff, technical staff, cameramen, camerawomen. Everyone has been subjected to it. It’s unacceptable.”

Press Gazette has said police inaction over protestors who scream abuse at broadcast journalists outside Westminster is failing press freedom.

Picture: Reuters/Stefan Rousseau/Pool

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