'Aggressive, ferocious and hostile': David Lammy slams anti-vax mob who ambushed Sir Keir

7 February 2022, 20:35 | Updated: 7 February 2022, 20:59

By Sophie Barnett

David Lammy has condemned the "ferocious" and "hostile" behaviour of a group of anti-vaxxers who ambushed Sir Keir Starmer outside Parliament.

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Mr Lammy, who was next to Sir Keir during the incident on Monday evening, told LBC of the "febrile" atmosphere he and the Labour leader experienced, describing the mob as "slightly crazed".

The pair were ambushed by a group of furious anti-vaxxers shortly after 5pm on Monday, with police forced to intervene to get them into safety.

Members of the group could be heard chanting "Jimmy Savile" and "traitor" at Sir Keir, in reference to Boris Johnson’s slur directed at the Labour leader.

Speaking to LBC's Iain Dale, Mr Lammy recalled: “On exiting the MoD, walking down, not very far from the MoD, we were accosted by a rabble of what appeared to be people chanting about the vaccine, but also repeating slurs we heard in Parliament last week.. in relation to Jimmy Savile and Keir Starmer.

“It was very aggressive, very ferocious, incredibly hostile.

“I think the atmosphere was febrile and the behaviour of some of the protesters was slightly crazed."

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The Tottenham MP recalled how the "rabble" crossed the street once they had spotted the pair.

“I’m born and raised in Tottenham. I wasn’t going to let these thugs get their way," Mr Lammy said.

"Keir was incredibly cool, very collected and was simply determined to make his way back and into parliament.

“What they were chanting was obscene, it was horrific."

He added: "This sort of behaviour is undemocratic, it’s not in the spirit of how we have differences of opinion or debate in our country.

“Some of what we were hearing had been stoked by mainstream politics from the despatch box.”

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He then called on the prime minister to apologise for the incident, claiming it was a "fundamental mistake" to make the false allegation.

Speaking in the Commons last week, Mr Johnson said: "Instead this leader of the opposition - a former director of public prosecution who used his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, as far as I can see - he chose to use this moment to continually pre-judge a police inquiry."

Mr Lammy said there's a "huge responsibility" to anyone who leads this country.

"He should be man enough and big enough to apologise unreservedly," he said.

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The Prime Minister posted online: "The behaviour directed at the Leader of the Opposition tonight is absolutely disgraceful.

"All forms of harassment of our elected representatives are completely unacceptable.

"I thank the police for responding swiftly."

A spokesman for the Met Police said a man and a woman were arrested at the scene for assault of an emergency worker after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer.

"Shortly after 17.10hrs on Monday, 7 February, a man who had been surrounded by a group of protesters near to New Scotland Yard, was taken away from the scene by a police car," the spokesman said.

"A man and a woman were arrested at the scene for assault of an emergency worker after a traffic cone was thrown at a police officer.

"They have been taken into custody."