Alison Hawes, Countryside Alliance
Alison Hawes, Countryside Alliance

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw was pelted with eggs by pro-hunt supporters during a ministerial visit. The junior environment minister had to be driven away by police in a riot van.

The Labour MP was targeted by a crowd of around 200 protesters during a trip to Cornwall yesterday.

Mr Bradshaw, who has voted in favour of banning fox hunting, was escorted away by the police after a visit to a lobster hatchery in Padstow.

He told the Echo how a crowd of hunt supporters heckled and threw eggs at him as he left, although he was not hit.

He said: “I had to be taken out in a riot control van.”

Some of the protesters rushed forward and threw eggs.

“Devon and Cornwall Police say a man was given an on-the-spot warning at the protest for throwing an egg. After the incident, the MP decided to call off a lunch visit to celebrity chef Rick Stein’s restaurant in Padstow because he feared it might attract more protests.

Earlier in the day, Mr Bradshaw was also targeted by pro-hunt protesters after a visit to open the annual Falmouth Oyster Festival.

As he left the festival he and the Labour MP for Falmouth and Camborne, Candy Atherton, were heckled by demonstrators.

It also appears manure and flour were thrown over Mr Bradshaw’s car. He said: “When we came out there was a big crowd and as we went to our car people rushed forward. We were jostled and people banged on the car. I think manure and flour were thrown at the car.

“People have a right to protest peacefully, but I would not describe the behaviour of the protesters as in any way peaceful.

“I do not think this sort of demonstration does their cause any good at all. It is important that democratically elected MPs and ministers can go about their business – and I will continue to do so.”

Alison Hawes, South West regional director of the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance, said: “I do not want to see any violence or threats, but if people want to protest and throw a few eggs at his car I have no problem with that. Whenever he comes into the countryside we will stage a protest. I am afraid he is a Defra minister and that is life.”

She also denied that manure or flour had been thrown over his car at Falmouth.

Source: This is Exeter

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