Archive for the ‘Westminster’ Category

Live: Student March Nov 9th

Wednesday, 9 November, 2011 2 comments

17:08 Things seem to be quietening down – protesters are filtering away and disturbances have been kept to a minimum. It has been an overall peaceful protest, with only a few breaking away from the crowd’s designated route. 

17:00 It seems that the heavy police presence around London has certainly kept disturbances to a minimum. Of the 20 arrests so far, the charges range from violent disorder and affray to breaching the peace, with one arrest for possession of a weapon. 

16:45 Earlier today builders showed unanimity with the protesters on top of scaffolding. 

16:39 Reports that the atmosphere at London Wall seems to have developed into a rave – lots of loud music and protesters dancing and drinking. 

16:27 Picture of the taxi protest courtesy of @wilkinson_david 

16:25 Reports of around 20 arrests so far – there is currently a taxi protest around Trafalgar Square. 

16:16 There have been arrests at London Wall. Reports say that several protesters have been drinking. The energy of the marchers appears to have picked up and crowds are now much larger than they were earlier. 

15:43 All aproaches to Trafalgar Square open again. The break-away group is said to be around 100 people but there is no clear route for them as yet.

15:25 March has reached London Wall – reports of several shops boarded up. This is the final destination of the march and there is now expected to be an hour-long rally.

reports of some kind of explosion in the crowd, believed to be a firecracker or something similar. 

15:09 Met Police report that the head of the march has entered Holborn Viaduct. A number of arrests have been made so far. 

15:03 Police are removing protesters camped in Trafalgar Square.

14:54 @rj_gallagher has tweeted: “Police at Trafalgar now announcing protesters must “return to the route…or you will be arrested” 

14:39 The march has been split with the front part standing on Fetter Street but the majority being held back. @billykenber has tweeted “Small groups of masked youths in the crowd which is lingering at junction with Fetters Lane”. 

14:22 According to @BBCTravelReport, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road have reopened.  

14:15 Met Police report that a small group of protesters have broken away from the main group and have broken Section 12 of the Public Order Act. The main front of the student march has now reached Aldwych. 

Huge police presence across the capital. Photo by @HeardInLondon

14:06Gower Street has reopened to southbound traffic.

13:57 Wilkinson_David, a CNN journalist, has tweeted:Police bringing dogs to the front line of the student march on the Strand”.

13:44 @suziruk tweeted: “Big group have broken away from the march and are pitching tents to occupy Trafalgar Sq” – several other reports of a large group who appear to be straying from the designated route. Just checking this now.  

13:36 Reports that protest has been good natured so far – protesters heading towards Trafalgar Square. Large police presence there. 

13:27 Protesters have been given a 2 hour limit to disperse at the end of today or they will face arrest. 

13:22Police in Trafalgar Square arranging themselves to prevent pedestrians getting caught up in the protests.

@wimbledog tweeted: “Incredible – mounted riot police deployed outside… March has moved off towards Trafalgar Square”

So far everything has been very quiet – nowhere near the expected numbers for the student march as yet. Currently checking reports of protesters in Trafalgar Square.

Student protesters moving through Gower Street – around 2000 strong at the moment. The electricians march is filtering across Southwark Bridge. 

12:59 A bit of background on the neighbouring march: Electricians, plumbers and engineers from across the country have formed a protest at the site of construction work at Blackfriars Underground station, and are planning to later lobby MPs in parliament. They are demonstrating against pay-cuts which unions claim are being imposed by several construction firms.

12:53@billykenber has Tweeted: “Familiar chants as march sets off: “you say cut back, we say fight back” and lots directed at Nick Clegg” along with a photo of the protesters on Gower Street.

Protesters have been warned that if they deviate from the planned route, or if they hang around for too long after the rally at the end then they will face arrest.

12:44 rumours of water cannons being used today are false – the @metpoliceuk has just Tweeted saying: “There is no intention of water cannons being used today”.

12:34 @danderricott, a student at the University of Lincoln, has tweeted: “Coaches to #nov9 demo being stopped by police and given warning fliers” He also posted a picture (below)

Meanwhile, the Met Police have reported that there are 500+ in the electricians march heading towards Blackfriars 

12:27  Channel 4 News report prominent chanting of “You can stick your rubber bullets up your a***”

12:26 So far proceedings are quiet – nowhere near the 10,000 expected protesters.

The Met have said there are 350+ protesters at Malet Street currently with additional people due to join them.

Police are expecting an hour long rally at London Wall from around 3.30pm-4.30pm. “Participants are expected to disperse by 17:30”. All roads on the route will be closed, with surrounding roads closed when necessary, including London, Southwark, Blackfriars, and Waterloo Bridges.

According to the Met Police, “there are currently 300 people at The Shard for the electricians march” which will be happening alongside the student march today.

They have also said that police are not expected to use batons today.

11:53 This is the planned route for the march – Starting at Malet street, the protesters will go along Gower Street, Bloomsbury Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road, Duncannon Street, The Strand, Fetter Lane, New Fetter Lane, Holborn Viaduct, Newgate Street, King Edward Street and finally ending up at London Wall. These roads will be closed so expect a lot of traffic diversions!

11:27Large crowds are gathering around Malet Street – some tents are visible. The march is expected to begin in about half an hour.

An estimated 10,000 students are expected to take part in today’s march against the recent education cuts. The Metropolitan Police have warned protesters that there will be around 4,000 police officers on duty; they have been granted the right to use rubber bullets if there are any disturbances in what is planned to be a peaceful march through London, starting at Malet Street (near Euston Station) and finishing at London Wall.

If you have and photos, videos or can tell us anything happening down there, you can tweet at us @TheWestLondoner, find us on Facebook or email me directly at 

Mayor sacks aide over child porn charges

Tuesday, 1 November, 2011 Leave a comment

Walsh: Mayoral appointee of the London Fire Brigade; photo:

Boris Johnson has sacked one of his aides after it emerged yesterday that he had been charged with a serious child pornography offence.

Simon Walsh, a barrister from the London fire authority – the cross-party body that controls the London fire brigade – was dismissed after the severity of the charges was realised.

According to Scotland Yard, Walsh is facing two charges: one of possessing an extreme pornographic image which was likely to have resulted in serious injury, and another of making an indecent photograph of a child on a computer, without the child present. Sources said that the Mayor had been concerned at Walsh’s apparent failure to reveal the extent of the charges.

Walsh, 49, of Southwark, is due to reappear at Uxbridge magistrates’ court on November 7, where the case is due to be committed to crown court. He denies the charges.


Trick or Treat?

Monday, 31 October, 2011 1 comment

According to a recent survey commissioned by Santander Insurance, 1 in 5 people would support banning Trick or Treating following the riots which swept across London earlier this year. 

Around 22%  of people surveyed believe that the yearly custom should have an outright ban, while 50% said that parental accompaniment should be compulsory in order to control the behaviour of children.

Furthermore, 43% of people would support a ban on people wearing masks which obscure the face over Halloween, and over a third of people asked would support a ban on people wearing hooded tops.

Andy Smith, head of media relations at Santander, said: “The summer’s riots resulted in a huge amount of innocent people becoming victims of crime. Our research would suggest that there is genuine concern about any more criminal damage or anti-social behaviour taking place in the period that surrounds Halloween and bonfire night – a period which many people already find intimidating”.

Are these fears founded or is it a lot of fuss about nothing? We want to know what you think: 

MPs split over EU vote

Tuesday, 25 October, 2011 1 comment

David Cameron faced what can arguably be seen as the biggest test of his leadership yesterday as a backbench motion calling for a referendum on Europe caused a massive rift within the House of Commons.

The decision of Cameron and Miliband not to allow a free vote within Parliament, opting for a three-line whip in the hope of controlling MPs votes, was met with fierce criticism from both The Commons and the general public.

After a five-hour debate on the pros and cons of EU membership and why the public should or should not be allowed to determine our future within Europe, 483 MPs voted to reject the motion, with only 111 voting in favour leaving a majority of 372 out of a total of 650 MPs in the House of Commons.

This result has sparked uncertainty over the future of several MPs within their parties. Grassroots reaction from Twitter and other social media sources suggest widespread public dissatisfaction with the result of the vote.

Twitter user Edward Butler-Ellis, who tweets under the username @EdwardBE1 and describes himself as an ‘avid Conservative campaigner’ said: “how is the #eureferendum a distraction for parliament? The EU is the single largest influence over the UK, don’t insult us. #referendumNOW

charlotteahenry, a self-described liberal, said: “Fuming about today’s self indulgent antics in Parliament, given what’s going on in the real world. Do MPs still wonder why nobody cares?”

Meanwhile, Labour supporter Shereef Abdallah (@Sheik74Shereef ) said: “Cameron is sleep walking to disaster. Even after the Euro vote, what happens if UK has d.dip recession ? Govt won’t survive till 2015.”

The list of rebels is as follows:


Stuart Andrew

Steve Baker

John Baron

Andrew Bingham

Brian Binley

Bob Blackman

Peter Bone

Graham Brady

Andrew Bridgen

Steve Brine

Fiona Bruce

Dan Byles

Douglas Carswell

Bill Cash

Christopher Chope

James Clappison

Tracey Crouch

David T.C. Davies

Philip Davies

David Davis

Nick du Bois

Caroline Dinenage

Nadine Dorries

Richard Drax

Mark Field

Lorraine Fullbrook

Zac Goldsmith

James Gray

Chris Heaton-Harris

Gordon Henderson

George Hollingbery

Philip Hollobone

Stewart Jackson

Bernard Jenkin

Marcus Jones

Chris Kelly

Andrea Leadsom

Jeremy Lefroy

Edward Leigh

Dr. Julian Lewis

Karen Lumley

Jason McCartney

Karl McCartney

Stephen McPartland

Anne Main

Patrick Mercer

Nigel Mills

Anne-Marie Morris

James Morris

Stephen Mosely

Sheryll Murray

Caroline Nokes

David Nuttall

Matthew Offord

Neil Parish

Priti Patel

Andrew Percy

Mark Pritchard

Mark Reckless

John Redwood

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Simon Reevell

Laurence Robertson

Andrew Rosindell

Richard Shepherd

Henry Smith

John Stevenson

Bob Stewart

Gary Streeter

Julian Sturdy

Sir Peter Tapsell

Justin Tomlinson

Andrew Turner

Martin Vickers

Charles Walker

Robin Walker

Heather Wheeler

Craig Whittaker

John Whittingdale

Dr. Sarah Wollaston


Ronnie Campbell

Rosie Cooper

Jeremy Corbyn

Jon Cruddas

John Cryer

Ian Davidson

Natascha Engel

Frank Field

Roger Godsiff

Kate Hoey

Kelvin Hopkins

Steve McCabe

John McDonnell

Austin Mitchell

Dennis Skinner

Andrew Smith

Graham Stringer

Gisela Stuart

Mike Wood

Lib Dem

Adrian Sanders

Democratic Unionist Party

Gregory Campbell

Nigel Dodds

Jeffrey Donaldson

Dr. William McCrea

Ian Paisley Jr.

Jim Shannon

David Simpson

Sammy Wilson


Caroline Lucas


Lady Hermon

POSITIVE ABSTENTIONS (Went through both Aye & No lobbies) 2

Ian Stewart (Conservative)

Mike Weatherley (Conservative)

London’s Libyans celebrate in the streets

Monday, 22 August, 2011 Leave a comment

About 200 people on the Edgware Road are celebrating the apparent downfall of Colonel Gaddafi after Libyan rebels entered Tripoli.

Courtesy of Simon Neville on Twitter

A video of people dancing and chanting has emerged thanks to LBC Radio’s Dan Freedman. One person on Twitter claims that the celebrating crowds include a small child brandishing a plastic toy gun, echoing the scenes that Sky News has been broadcasting live from Tripoli.

The news network’s reporter on the ground in Tripoli, Alex Crawford, captured astonishing footage of rebels celebrating on Green Square, including Kalashnikov rifles being fired at symbols of Gaddafi’s government and up into the air.

Crowds of pro-Libyan supporters remain on the Edgware Road at the time of writing. It is not known how long they intend to stay there but news crews are in the area at the moment.

In Libya itself Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s sons, has been arrested and will be sent to the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Mohammed Gaddafi, another of Muammar’s sons who runs the Libyan Olympic Committee, is also reportedly under house arrest. Gunshots were heard whilst he was giving a telephone interview to an Arabic channel but he appears to be unharmed.

Jilted lover’s bomb hoax

Friday, 19 August, 2011 Leave a comment

A jilted lover made a hoax bomb threat to get back at her ex-BBC journalist boyfriend after he told her he was having an arranged marriage, a court heard. Ahla Arbid, 33, told airport authorities that Hossain Ansari Pour’s new bride, Sara Aryan Pour, was carrying explosives when she flew to the UK. 

Prosecutors at Southwark Crown Court said that Arbid, a mother-of-two from Marylebone, West London, reacted furiously when she discovered that Mr Ansari Pour’s parents had found him a bride, who was due to come to the UK.

Arbid told the court she feared Mr Ansari Pour was part of a plot to kill hundreds of passengers on an international flight. She reportedly informed airport authorities that ex-BBC journalist Hossain Ansari Pour was plotting to bring explosives to the UK. She claimed they were being smuggled from Iran via Turkey by his new bride and sparked a major security alert.

Giving evidence to the court, Mr Ansari Pour said his father was a senior lawyer and lecturer in law in Tehran, while he himself had worked for several well-known news organisations including the BBC, and was now head of Farsi at Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal.

He went on to say that he had already been married twice, once in a ‘full’ Islamic marriage, from which he has an 11-year-old daughter, and also in a previous ‘temporary’ marriage, which, under Iranian law, allows legal sexual relationships on a less formal basis than full marriage.

He added: “Even on the first day that I met Ahla, I did tell her my parents were looking for a wife for me”.

The court heard that the couple entered into a sexual relationship, and that Arbid later told the journalist she was pregnant by him, subsequently having an abortion. Mr Ansari Pour’s parents found him a bride in Iran, and although he was still engaged in his ‘temporary marriage’ to Arbid, he flew to his homeland for a religious wedding ceremony. He then arranged for his new wife to come to Britain, booking her a flight to London via Turkey on May 2nd this year.

When Arbid discovered what was happening, she contacted both the British Airports Authority and the authorities in Turkey to tell them that Miss Aryan Pour was carrying an ‘explosive substance’ to give to her husband in London.

Arbid hit back at claims she had alerted authorities maliciously and falsely, insisting that she feared Mr Ansari Pour was a terrorist and was plotting a bomb attack on a plane.