Theresa May faces mounting calls to sack her party chairman after a prankster was able to hand her a P45. Police and Tory chiefs are urgently investigating after Simon Brodkin strolled up to the Prime Minister’s platform during her speech to the party conference. Comedian Brodkin, who performs as Lee Nelson, was briefly arrested but released when police realised he was fully accredited for the bash in Manchester.
Now pressure is growing on Sir Patrick McLoughlin, who oversaw the conference.
One furious MP told the Evening Standard: “Somebody has to take responsibility for the shambles of the past week . Everyone likes Patrick but he has completely f***ed up.”
Lee Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, walked up to Theresa May and gave her a P45 (Image: Carl Court) He gave a thumbs up to Boris Johnson after telling her she was out of a job (Image: Daily Mirror) The Foreign Secretary and his Cabinet colleagues looked bemused (Image: Daily Mirror)
Another said: “Patrick is a Filofax chairman . We need a Facebook chairman.. . He should now be sacked. Business Secretary Greg Clark failed to defend Sir Patrick today as he branded the fiasco “shocking” and a “huge concern”.
Asked if Sir Patrick was to blame, he said: “I don’t know what part of the weakness of the system it was, but it clearly needs to be established.
“We need to look into it and find out what happened to make sure it can never happen again.”
He added: “He could have had violent intent . I think there is a question as to how that came to happen.”
Ministers have demanded answers over the “weakness of the system” (Image: Getty) Yet Brodkin was fully accredited and had a police-approved conference pass (Image: PA) Conservative chairman Patrick McLoughlin is coming under fire (Image: Getty)
Brodkin was pre-approved, had a valid conference pass round his neck and went through airport-style security scanners before entering the main hall at the Manchester Central conference centre on Wednesday. No one stopped him as he strolled up to the Prime Minister and handed her a mock P45 which she accepted and put under her lectern.
Party staff stood in shock as he walked slowly backwards and gave a thumbs-up to Boris Johnson before eventually being frogmarched out of the hall. Reports today claimed Sir Patrick was already planning to leave before the end of the year, leading to a row about whether he should be rushed out or stay for unity. Home Secretary Amber Rudd1 added she was “very disappointed”, saying: “I am going to continue to follow what’s going on, it’s in the hands of the police and we will make sure we look carefully into how it happened to make sure it doesn’t again.”
Greater Manchester Police Chief Superintendent John O Hare said: “The man had legitimate accreditation which granted him access to the conference site .
In light of this we will be reviewing the accreditation process with the Conservative Party.
All passholders, even Cabinet ministers, have to go through airport-style scanners (Image: Daily Mirror) Snipers were also positioned on nearby rooftops (Image: CHRIS NEILL/MAVERICK PHOTOGRAPHY)
Theresa May’s Tory conference speech 2017
“Even with accreditation, everyone at the conference goes through airport-style searches before being allowed entry to the site.”
Sources told Politico and The Times Sir Patrick was already planning to go and now there is a row about whether he should be rushed out or stay for unity.
One official told Politico Mr McLoughlin “was going anyway and is certainly gone now”.
But another told The Times: “It’s going to look like he’s been fired or is deserting her now.”
- Parents at the school said they repeatedly requested increased security
- The breach could have admitted terrorists or paedophiles, a mother said
- ‘Paying 20,000 a year to send a child there, you expect better,’ a parent said
A school that Royals attend on the grounds of Windsor Castle suffered a security breach yesterday when an intruder gained access while pretending to be a parent. An unknown woman was seen with pupils at St George’s School during an open morning at the exclusive 7,000-a-term establishment. After the incident, parents said that they had repeatedly requested increased security at the school but their pleas were seemingly ignored.
An unknown woman was seen with pupils at St George’s School during an open morning at the exclusive 7,000-a-term establishment that is attended by Royals
‘It’s shocking she could get in so easily it could have been a kidnapper, terrorist, paedophile or anything . Lessons will have to be learned . Parents will not let this lie.’
‘It’s shocking she could get in so easily it could have been a kidnapper, terrorist, paedophile or anything . Lessons will have to be learned . Parents will not let this lie’ a parent said
Guilty plea: Anthony Brailsford, 69, admitted repeatedly rubbing a young boy s buttocks Another parent said: ‘This highlights an alarming lack of security . Paying 20,000 a year to send a child there, you expect better.’
Headmaster Chris McDade confirmed to The Sun that the intruder was escorted out by staff and police were investigating the incident. Princess Eugenie is a past pupil of the school and Prince Edward’s son and daughter currently attend there. Other pupils include the choristers of St George s chapel – a place of royal worship situated behind the school in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
The unisex day and boarding school takes pupils aged three years to 13 years. This is the second recent controversy to hit the school after a former headmaster admitted sexually assaulting boys in his Latin classes and watching others shower naked in the 1990’s. Anthony Brailsford, 69, who was acting headmaster of the school in Windsor Castle, Berkshire, admitted last year to repeatedly rubbing a young boy s buttocks.
He received a six-month suspended prison sentence in January at Reading Crown Court for the historic abuse.
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In September 30, 2016, after an elaborate police operation, two van Gogh paintings were recovered from the home of a Neapolitan Mafia boss . They had been stolen nearly 14 years earlier from the world-famous Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on December 7, 2002 . The thieves weren’t too subtle about their approach: they smashed a window, probably with a sledgehammer wrapped in cloth . The expensive alarm system didn’t go off . The guards heard the commotion, but the thieves were too quick for them . They knew exactly which two paintings they wanted, so they walked straight up to them, ripped them off the walls and exited through the broken window. This case is just one of many, and not exclusively in the world of art crime, where expensive security is foiled through the simplest of methods . Most of the time, thieves can render useless a multi-million-pound defence system simply by acting quickly. To boards of directors and insurance companies, expensive, state-of-the-art security2 sounds like it should be the most effective and safest option .
But such an approach raises two problems . First, there always seem to be smart people who enjoy a challenge . When I worked at a major art museum, the computer technician was driven mad by some non-malevolent hacker3 who kept breaking into the system . The hacker wouldn’t do much – turn off a light here, send an email there4 – just enough to show that the system had been breached, and would require a complete overhaul of security protocols. Second, most high-tech security5 – whether for computer systems, banks, homes or museums – is alarm-based . When a perimeter is breached, an alarm – silent or sounding – is meant to notify authorities . This sounds fine in principle, but for the fact that technical devices sometimes don’t work properly, and someone must respond in a timely and effective fashion for the alarm to have served any purpose. In 2008, two museum incidents highlighted the dangers mentioned above . First, at the blockbuster British Museum exhibit of the Chinese terracotta warriors, an activist slipped surgical masks, scrawled with political slogans, over the faces of some of the figures .
Each statue had been expensively protected by a software that drew an invisible barrier around each warrior – if this barrier were breached, an alarm would sound . At least, that was the idea . Not only did the alarm not go off, but tourists had to look for a guard to tell them what was happening . Second, that same year, a bunch of drunken vandals smashed open the employee entrance to the Mus e d’Orsay in Paris . The alarms went off, but the intruders were able to rush in, punch a hole through a Monet and sprint out before guards could reach them. Human response is of critical importance to high-tech security, both in terms of the natural human prankster impulse and the practical response of guards or police to an alarm sounding. To counteract this over-reliance on technology, some ingenious security specialists have come up with low-tech, analogue defensive measures to compliment the laser barriers and heat-sensor cameras . Dennis Ahern, director of security UK at Christie’s auction house and previously head of security for the Tate museums, taught a course on museum security at the ARCA postgraduate programme in art crime and cultural heritage protection . He likes to combine low- and high-tech devices in the same gallery .
The analogue methods, some as mundane as affixing a sculpture to its plinth with high-tensile steel fishing line, offer an element of surprise . Hostile surveillance – casing a joint, as criminals are wont to do when considering a location for a crime – might spot CCTV cameras and motion detectors, but the last thing a thief expects is a bit of fishing line.
Bolting statues to plinths, or frames to walls, is done less than you might think (there is some concern about speed of removal of objects in the event of a fire), but lashing a valuable that you don’t want going anywhere to an immobile surface is a tried-and-true safety mechanism, at least delaying potential thieves, if not stopping them altogether . Average police response time to a 999 call in cities is ten to 15 minutes, so delaying a thief is crucial . Add a surprise element to your alarm system, and that fishing line might buy police an extra minute or two to stop the bad guys . They also offer a failsafe if technology fails. Hanging side-by-side in London’s National Gallery are Portrait of a Man (Self Portrait?) and Margaret, the Artist’s Wife, a pair of pendant portraits by Jan van Eyck . There they rest, doubtless secured by various alarms and tracking devices (museums don’t like to go public with the details of their security measures) . For centuries, these works were displayed together at the painter’s guild hall in Bruges . But back in the 18th century, Portrait of a Man was stolen .
To make sure its neighbour didn’t go anywhere, a heavy iron chain was affixed to it . Now that the two portraits are reunited in the National Gallery, perhaps it would be fitting (and safer) to have them both chained to the wall ? In addition to all that high-tech security, of course.