It's day two of the Conservative party conference and there have been several ugly scenes already. Yesterday saw a banner quoting the IRA's words in the aftermath of the Brighton bomb hung by a nearby bridge close to the conference arena. Today Jacob Rees-Mogg was pursued by hecklers chanting that he was 'scum.' And now Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative party, has been assaulted by a group of men on his route to an event at the Mercure hotel.
Duncan Smith arrived at a Brexit panel with Cabinet office minister Lord Frost, only to disappear midway through to discuss the incident with a police officer who took a statement from him. Speaking afterwards, he told Steerpike that he was pursued down the road from the Midland hotel to the Mercure by several men, one of whom threw a traffic cone which hit him on the head. Duncan Smith said:
“For half a second I was about to go up and punch them, I went forward and they all backed off – I nearly knocked them out, lost my rag. I can't tell you very much other than they just followed us, used abusive language, attacked us and used a cone. I have to say I would have very nearly been done for assault myself, I turned after them and they sort of backed off and I dropped the cone. They were shouting all along and then they smashed the cone on the back of my head and so I turned and grabbed the cone and looked at them and I took a pace towards them and they backed off. I threw the cone on the ground, said "pathetic" and turned and walked off. They were incoherent, they were stupid.
Greater Manchester Police confirmed to Mr S that an incident had occurred around 4.p.m today on Great Portland Street:
“Officers were on the scene within minutes. There aren't believed to be any serious injuries, and following a short foot pursuit three men and two women have been arrested in connection with it, and remain in custody for questioning. Enquiries are ongoing.