Rise in protests at Conservative Party Conference 2022 in Birmingham

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

West Midlands Police Crime and Commissioner confirms there have been more protests at the conference this year as Tory bosses raise concerns about delegate security

It started with thousands taking to the streets of Birmingham to protest against the cost of living crisis and the Conservative Party policies to deal with it on Sunday (October 2).

The rally was organised by the Midlands TUC and People’s Assembly who put on coaches for people to join from across the country. They met in Victoria Square, hours after the conference began with a focus on the ongoing issues of the economy and before the U-turn on the controversial 45p tax rate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Demonstrators were filmed heckling Business Secretary Jacob Rees Mogg as he made his way to the ICC for day one of the annual conference.

Protesters could be heard yelling “Tory Scum” as he was escorted by West Midlands Police officers past Victoria Square towards Centenary Square.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant was also heckled by protesters as he made his way to meetings, telling reporters that one demonstrator attempted to blow a plastic horn in his hear. He said he retaliated by throwing it to the ground.

The protests continued into day 2 of the conference on Monday (October 3) with demonstrators - including the anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray, playing loud music featuring the Benny Hill and Muppets theme tunes in an effort to mock the Tories as the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, was forced into a humiliating volte-face over the abolition of the 45p tax rate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What has West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said about the rise in protests at the Conservative Party Conference?

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has confirmed that there are more protests at this years Conservative Party Conference than previous years in Birmingham.

He made this admission as his force faced criticism from Tory leaders about the effectiveness of the protection his officers were giving to delegates while also claiming West Midlands Police had been shortchanged by more than £500,000 in security costs for the conference.

Mr Foster said: “It is certainly the case that there have been more protesters this year than at previous conferences, and these protests have been more volatile than previously. This is doubtless a reflection of the heightened national political tensions.

“Chief constable Sir David Thompson and assistant chief constable Jane Meir have briefed policing minister Jeremy Quinn and West Midlands mayor Andy Street over the weekend, and provided assurances concerning the safety of delegates and policing of protests.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I can report that, to date, no offences have been recorded, and the issues raised have not reached the criminal threshold. No arrests have had to be made to date.”

Partnership: West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, British Transport Police Chief Inspector Ricky Sweeney and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster.Partnership: West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, British Transport Police Chief Inspector Ricky Sweeney and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster.
Partnership: West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, British Transport Police Chief Inspector Ricky Sweeney and West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster.

The comments were in response to a leaked letter from Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair, and Darren Mott, party chief executive who have accused West Midlnads Police of ‘failing to protect delegates’.

The Guardian reported that it read: “We are writing to raise our serious concerns at the measures taken to protect delegates attending the 2022 Conservative party conference.

“Over the course of the last 24 hours, we have received reports from some of our delegates that they have faced intimidation and threats of violence from some outside the venue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It of course goes without saying that we fully support the rights of all peaceful protesters, but with reports of delegates being spat at, chased and in some cases physically assaulted as they enter and exit the conference centre – this is clearly not acceptable.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. BirminghamWorld is Birmingham’s latest news website, championing everything that is great about our city - reporting on news, lifestyle and sport. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.