Labour MP sets police on Peter Oborne

The Labour Party, or at least one of its number, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, does not appear to be aware of the concept of freedom of speech.

On Wednesday, he spotted Peter Oborne, the political commentator and broadcaster, handing out a pamphlet about his current bugbear, Islamophobia in the UK, in the passage between Portcullis House and the House of Commons. Instead of seeing this as a laudable example of democracy in action, the MP called the Commons police to remove him.

Says Oborne: “I was obviously committing the very offensive act of exercising democracy in the House of Commons. In honesty, the policeman couldn’t have been more charming, but when we asked him on what grounds we were being removed, he couldn’t provide an answer.”

Why Sheerman took such offence to Oborne, who along with the pamphlet’s co-author James Jones were escorted from the area, is not known. A more obvious copper’s nark would have been former Labour Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who had earlier told Oborne he was “making a fool of himself”.

The Week, 11 July 2008