Dozens of Palestine activists surround house of Tory MP Tobias Ellwood in 'wholly unacceptable' protest

14 February 2024, 16:28

Tobias Ellwood
Tobias Ellwood. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Kit Heren

As many as 80 pro-Palestine protesters surrounded the home of Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood to accuse him of being complicit in genocide.

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The Palestine Solidarity Movement group chanted through a megaphone while Bournemouth East MP Mr Ellwood was at home with his two children on Monday evening.

The protesters chanted "Ceasefire now!" and “Free Palestine!"

They also shouted: "Tobias Ellwood, you can’t hide, you signed up for genocide," according to a video posted online.

Police were called and said they ensured the protest took place without "serious disruption to the community" while making sure "people could exercise their right to protest legally".

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Alicia Kearns, another Conservative MP and the chairwoman of the foreign affairs select committee, slammed the protesters for targeting Mr Ellwood's home, while a local politician said the demonstration was not "legitimate".

She added: "This has a chilling effect on political discourse, and serves only to push politicians to the point where they question whether it is all worth it, especially for their families.

"We treasure in our country that our MPs live in our communities with such a close relationship with those we represent.”

Dorset Police said: "Officers attended the scene and liaised with the organisers to ensure people could exercise their right to protest legally and safely without causing significant or ongoing serious public disorder, serious damage or serious disruption to the community.

"We respect people's right to lawful protest. However, we have a duty to ensure those involved act within the law and ensure the local community can go about their lawful activities."

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Patrick Canavan, leader of the Labour group on Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council, said: "It is completely unacceptable to target the home of any MP of any party in that way. It isn’t a legitimate protest."

The Palestine Solidarity Movement said: "Our emergency demonstration was in direct response to the Israeli bombings of Rafah refugee camp.

"Our protest was entirely legal and is the result of constituent calls being ignored and inadequately addressed by Tobias Ellwood."

Tobias Ellwood
Tobias Ellwood. Picture: Alamy

Mr Ellwood is not in the government, although he was a junior defence minister from 2017-2019 and earlier served as a junior Foreign Office minister. He also chaired the defence select committee from 2020-2023.

He has previously criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his country's "reckless" actions in Gaza.

MPs' security has made headlines recently after the Conservative Mike Freer said he would step down after receiving death threats, which he believes were related to his support for Israel.

Mr Ellwood's fellow Conservative Sir David Amess was murdered in 2021 by Islamist terrorist Ali Harbi Ali, while Jo Cox was killed by far right attacker Thomas Mair in 2016.