Croydon South MP Sir Richard Ottaway calls police over constituents delivering petition

Richard Ottaway, MP for Croydon South

Richard Ottaway, MP for Croydon South

First published in News
Last updated
Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A group of campaigners have expressed disbelief after Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway called the police about them delivering a petition to his office.

The Conservative, who was awarded a knighthood this month for his services to politics, asked for protection from officers ahead of 12 of his constituents arriving at his Brighton Road office on Friday.

The group, who were delivering a petition opposing a controversial lobbying bill, said they felt "intimidated" when confronted by officers as they arrived at around 5.30pm.

Liz Marsden, one of the campaigners, from had made an appointment to see Mr Ottaway.

But when the MP learned on Friday morning that other campaigners would be joining her, he called the police to express concerns about his safety.

Officers spoke briefly to the campaigners, including an 81-year-old woman, before leaving.

Ms Marsden, of Old Lodge Lane, said: "I spoke to Richard Ottaway that morning to say that there were going to be more people coming to show support for this petition and he was rather worried because he didn't know who they were.

"I said, well they're your constituents and clearly not threatening.

"He should be pleased that he has got constituents who are enthusiastic and interested who are willing to come out late on a Friday afternoon and take part in the democratic process. But he was not really interested in listening to his constituents."

The 39-year-old added: "When we got there I explained to the police what we were doing. They stayed about two minutes and left because they could clearly see weren't a threat."

Mr Ottaway said he was "sensitive about security" and called the police in adherence to Parliamentary guidelines.

He said: "If you want to have a surgery, you make an appointment.

"One person had made an appointment and I discovered by accident in the afternoon that she had invited an unknown number of people to join.

"We are quite sensitive about security nowadays.

Croydon Guardian:

A threat? Campaigners outside the MP's office

"A couple of my Parliamentary colleagues have survived attempted murders at their surgeries and we don't give appointments to people if we don't know who they are. It's as simple as that.

"I let the person who had made the appointment in and the rest stayed outside.

"I notified the police as per the guidance on security for MPs. It is a perfectly straightforward security thing. Any one of those people can make an appointment to see me."

He added: "If I discover than 10 unknown people are to descend on my surgery [again], I will be notifying the police in the future."

The MP said campaigners had issued an "open invition" to protest outside his office and had refused to supply attendees' names.

But campaigners criticised the MP, accusing him of intimidation.

Ms Marsden, who delivered the petition for campaign group 38 Degrees, said: "Everyone was surprised and some of them felt quite intimidated by his [Mr Ottaway's] manner. We were more intimidated by him than he needed to be of us.

"I can see his point, because he was saying he had a colleague who was murdered and two colleagues attacked in their surgeries, so I appreciate his concerns.

Croydon Guardian:

Liz Marsden delivers the petition to Richard Ottaway

"But he could see we were not very threatening and the point is they were all his constituents."

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it received a call from Mr Ottaway's office on Friday afternoon.

A spokesman said: "We were called to the office in Brighton Road to reports of a group of demonstrators outside the office.

"Our officers spoke to everyone there but there were no offences being committed so we left."

In 2010, a 21-year-old student was jailed for life for stabbing Labour MP Stephen Timms in an attempt to kill him in his constituency office. She had made an appointment to see him.


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Comments (9)

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3:30pm Mon 20 Jan 14

Hove Ex-Pat says...

Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.
Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least. Hove Ex-Pat
  • Score: 71

9:13pm Mon 20 Jan 14

ANNE GILES says...

Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.
I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment.
[quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.[/p][/quote]I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment. ANNE GILES
  • Score: -67

6:44pm Wed 22 Jan 14

jedi44 says...

This is as bad as IDS being surrounded by armed police when meeting with a group of disabled people recently. And that was in Westminster too, I believe. I'm not sure if all the constituents wanted into the building or no, but they should have been allowed a oeaceful protest outside while one of their number delkivered the petition, at least. Mind you, the right for peaceful protest is under attack by yet another of this vile coalition's "reform" bills. I bet all these MPs cowering in fear are meant to convince us that the bill is needed.
This is as bad as IDS being surrounded by armed police when meeting with a group of disabled people recently. And that was in Westminster too, I believe. I'm not sure if all the constituents wanted into the building or no, but they should have been allowed a oeaceful protest outside while one of their number delkivered the petition, at least. Mind you, the right for peaceful protest is under attack by yet another of this vile coalition's "reform" bills. I bet all these MPs cowering in fear are meant to convince us that the bill is needed. jedi44
  • Score: 48

6:49pm Wed 22 Jan 14

sunshine31 says...

ANNE GILES wrote:
Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.
I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment.
They had made an appointment! MPs are not intrested in anything their constituents have to say! They are only in it for the money!
[quote][p][bold]ANNE GILES[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.[/p][/quote]I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment.[/p][/quote]They had made an appointment! MPs are not intrested in anything their constituents have to say! They are only in it for the money! sunshine31
  • Score: 37

6:52pm Wed 22 Jan 14

lee 41 says...

ANNE GILES wrote:
Hove Ex-Pat wrote:
Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.
I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment.
No guarantee you're not going to be killed by us even WITH an appointment either reading the rest of the article. Just stop being so unfair and uncivilised!
I despair with this government....it's me,me,me all the time with them.....there is no democracy anymore when people have to fight for Freedom of Speech and expression under the threat of being imprisoned for daring to do so. Wake up Britain! The Tories don't care about you....only what you can do for THEM.
[quote][p][bold]ANNE GILES[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hove Ex-Pat[/bold] wrote: Now come on you nasty campaigners you. He is your MP. He only wants the money from the electorate, not their opinions. He doesn't expect to have to actually meet you lot, well, not until the next election, at least.[/p][/quote]I thoroughly agree with what he did. The correct thing to do is to make an appointment.[/p][/quote]No guarantee you're not going to be killed by us even WITH an appointment either reading the rest of the article. Just stop being so unfair and uncivilised! I despair with this government....it's me,me,me all the time with them.....there is no democracy anymore when people have to fight for Freedom of Speech and expression under the threat of being imprisoned for daring to do so. Wake up Britain! The Tories don't care about you....only what you can do for THEM. lee 41
  • Score: 37

2:45pm Thu 23 Jan 14

ANNE GILES says...

He had a very good reason for calling police. The Anarchist leader of the Class War party was there. If you make an appointment to see your MP, you stick to that appointment and do not bring the rabble along with you as well. Totally uncivilised behaviour. None of that lot look very friendly at all. I would have done exactly the same.
He had a very good reason for calling police. The Anarchist leader of the Class War party was there. If you make an appointment to see your MP, you stick to that appointment and do not bring the rabble along with you as well. Totally uncivilised behaviour. None of that lot look very friendly at all. I would have done exactly the same. ANNE GILES
  • Score: -16

3:42pm Thu 23 Jan 14

lee 41 says...

ANNE GILES wrote:
He had a very good reason for calling police. The Anarchist leader of the Class War party was there. If you make an appointment to see your MP, you stick to that appointment and do not bring the rabble along with you as well. Totally uncivilised behaviour. None of that lot look very friendly at all. I would have done exactly the same.
All I need to say about this opinion is that it is just that, one persons opinion. The comment scores will tell their own story. My opinion is that I can't believe "this rabble" letting their MP know how strongly they feel on an issue, that is so important and fundamental to a successful democratic and civilised society, is in any way threatening. Perhaps she's joking!? It just shows how out of touch so many MP's and Ministers are to the point of being scared of constituents that gather in groups. It'll be ASBO's next for "hanging around constituent offices and being annoying". She was joking.....yeah?
[quote][p][bold]ANNE GILES[/bold] wrote: He had a very good reason for calling police. The Anarchist leader of the Class War party was there. If you make an appointment to see your MP, you stick to that appointment and do not bring the rabble along with you as well. Totally uncivilised behaviour. None of that lot look very friendly at all. I would have done exactly the same.[/p][/quote]All I need to say about this opinion is that it is just that, one persons opinion. The comment scores will tell their own story. My opinion is that I can't believe "this rabble" letting their MP know how strongly they feel on an issue, that is so important and fundamental to a successful democratic and civilised society, is in any way threatening. Perhaps she's joking!? It just shows how out of touch so many MP's and Ministers are to the point of being scared of constituents that gather in groups. It'll be ASBO's next for "hanging around constituent offices and being annoying". She was joking.....yeah? lee 41
  • Score: 6

4:59pm Thu 23 Jan 14

hilarykemp3@yahoo.co.uk says...

How disgusting! Calling these decent people a rabble? They appear to be more on the elderley side and are clearly intelligent people who are not happy with the constant erosion of democracy by the Tories and the fact that they only look after themselves and their Bullingdon friend.

Less rabble more scrabble methinks
How disgusting! Calling these decent people a rabble? They appear to be more on the elderley side and are clearly intelligent people who are not happy with the constant erosion of democracy by the Tories and the fact that they only look after themselves and their Bullingdon friend. Less rabble more scrabble methinks hilarykemp3@yahoo.co.uk
  • Score: 7

11:06am Fri 24 Jan 14

ANNE GILES says...

Actually, the information here is totally incorrect. During the afternoon Richard Ottaway received information that a protest was being planned. An email had been sent to an unspecified number of people by an organisation that specialises in confrontational tactics. Not nice at all.
Actually, the information here is totally incorrect. During the afternoon Richard Ottaway received information that a protest was being planned. An email had been sent to an unspecified number of people by an organisation that specialises in confrontational tactics. Not nice at all. ANNE GILES
  • Score: -1

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