Romford MP Andrew Rosindell refuses to apologise after comments about policing of anti-lockdown protest
PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 October 2020
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell has rejected a call to apologise for comments he made about the Met’s policing of an anti-lockdown protest in London.
The Conservative politician wrote to the force’s commissioner, Cressida Dick, about its handling of the demonstration in Trafalgar Square on September 26, which was broken up by police due to a lack of action from organisers to engage with crowds to maintain social distancing.
Mr Rosindell told Ms Dick he was writing on behalf of constituents, adding: “It is important that these protests are peaceful, and I welcome the police presence which helps to ensure that demonstrations do not become violent.
“My constituents are particularly concerned that the police response to this anti-lockdown demonstration appears to be very different to the response to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests earlier in the summer.”
Mr Rosindell claimed that some officers were “more accommodating” during the BLM protests, including showing support for the cause by taking the knee.
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He wrote: “It would be very alarming if your officers were not impartially policing events. The police should be seeking to keep everyone safe during demonstrations, irrespective of the causing being protested.”
Romford Labour tweeted criticism of Mr Rosindell’s comments, saying his questioning of the force’s impartiality was a “new low”.
Peter Wheelband, a spokesperson for the party who stepped down as campaign officer earlier this week, said the timing of his remarks were “extremely crass and insensitive” following the death of Sergeant Matt Ratana.
He added: “It’s a sorry state of affairs when our elected official resorts to attempts to politicise the police force and attempts to slur the reputations of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.”
Mr Wheelband, the father of a serving officer, called on Mr Rosindell to apologise to the police force, but the MP said he would not say sorry.
Mr Rosindell retorted: “It is correct in a democracy that we question our institutions, while maintaining the utmost respect and reverence for the work they do.”
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