Tory councillor filmed 'stealing EU flags from anti-Brexit protestors' outside party conference

30 September 2019, 17:14

Councillor Sam Smith was accused of taking an EU flag from protestors
Councillor Sam Smith was accused of taking an EU flag from protestors. Picture: Twitter

By Kate Buck

A Tory councillor has denied stealing EU flags from anti-Brexit protestors outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Sam Smith, 22, who represents Trent Valley in Gedling Borough Council, was recorded walking away from the protestors with the flags inside his hand alongside fellow Tory, Charlie Godwin.

They were pursued by protestor Elspeth and Steve Bray, who has become known as "Brexit man" and is a frequent figure at protests against the UK's departure from the bloc.

Elspeth tells him to give the flags back, before telling the pair she will call the police if she does not get them back.

Mr Smith replies: Good, crack on. I'll report you to the anti-democracy police."

Officers ended up intervening in the incident, and Mr Smith eventually hands back the property.

Mr Smith and Charlie
Mr Smith and Charlie Godwin pictured speaking with police. Picture: Twitter

The demonstrators claimed their flags had been "destroyed" during the incident, and Mr Godwin was then filmed handing over a monetary amount as compensation.

The footage was shared online by Femi Oluwole, the founder of he anti-Brexit Our Future Our Choice group.

He tweeted: "It’s that privileged sense of immunity from the law... You can see it in their face... They can admit to theft in front of police officers and know they’ll never face any real consequences.

“Like Tory leader, Like Tory member I suppose...”

Mr Godwin was pictured handing money over to the protestors
Mr Godwin was pictured handing money over to the protestors. Picture: Twitter

Mr Smith has denied stealing the flags. In a statement he said: "The allegations are false. 

"I saw and removed what I believed were a couple of EU flags left abandoned from a protest

"When we were told they belonged to someone I gave them back and they were given a small sum in recompense.

"I engaged in a low level act of direct action protest of my own to express my intense frustration at the refusal to accept the result of the referendum and I consider that people should be much more concerned about the theft of democracy."