SOMETHING ugly is happening outside parliament.
This week the Conservative MP Anna Soubry was surrounded by a group of abusive male protesters chanting ‘Soubry is a Nazi’. She no longer stands on the edge of the tube platform for fear someone will push her on the track, and has had so many death threats that she can’t keep track.
Journalists are on the receiving end of abuse too, when broadcasting from the patch of grass across the road from the Houses of Parliament.
Sky’s Kay Burley tweeted: ‘I need security to escort me from my place of work. These people are not pro-Brexit, they are pro-intimidation.
‘They specifically target me and scream “slag”, or “f*****g fascist” over and over and over again and those are just some comments I can mention in polite company.’
I have broadcast from outside parliament hundreds of times. It’s a very public space but I have never thought twice about security. Thanks to a small minority of abusive idiots, the atmosphere has now changed.
Some have tried to paint this as a legitimate form of protest at a time when there is genuine anger over Brexit and the prospect of a second referendum. That anger and sense of betrayal I can understand. But the ugly scenes outside Westminster have nothing to do with Brexit.
The pathetic men hurling abuse that is too sexually graphic to go into are misogynists spoiling for a fight. They are simply thugs.
As Sky’s Adam Boulton explained on Twitter: ‘We don’t mind demonstrators on any side. We do object to yobs chanting racist and sexist slogans and trying to deny others free speech and freedom to go about their business.’
But if the abusive protesters are hoping to silence their targets, they have made a major miscalculation. Their intended victims are a hundred times tougher than they are. They have picked a fight that they are sure to lose.
£50,000 for fake queue? It’s money for jam
JUST when you thought things couldn’t get more embarrassing, it has emerged that the government paid lorry drivers £550 to stage a fake traffic jam in Kent this week.
Operation Brock — which was part of the contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit — consisted of 89 lorries stuck in a queue near Ramsgate. Why we have to shell out almost £50,000 to work out what a traffic jam looks like is beyond me.
It’s Catch 22 as May vote looms
IF THE Brexit referendum was about taking back control, parliament is obeying orders.
Government defeats are becoming commonplace as MPs flex their muscles.
It is now clear there is no majority in parliament for a no-deal Brexit and politicians of all stripes are determined to stop it. The problem is, the only way to be sure the UK doesn’t leave the EU without a deal is to…er…leave with a deal.
And the one thing everyone agrees on is Theresa May (pictured) is heading for another defeat when she puts her plan to a vote in parliament next week.
■ I’VE been filming in Harlow for Sophy Ridge on Sunday this week, an Essex town where 68 per cent voted Leave, and was struck by residents’ frustration with politicians. They think MPs are acting like children. There was also more support for the PM’s deal than I expected, not because people love it, but they want it to be over. That, I think, is wishful thinking…