A proud Remainer claimed he had his passport taken away by immigration officers at one of Britain’s busiest airports – for wearing a “Bollocks to Brexit” badge.
Eddie Brinsmead-Stockham was passing through Gatwick after a short golfing trip in Portugal when he was stopped by an “abrupt” Home Office official.
The 65-year-old said the man asked him to remove his badge which said “Bollocks to Brexit” because he found it offensive.
When Eddie refused, he was taken to a holding area “on the wrong side of immigration” and had his passport taken away.
The management consultant, from Kinston-upon-Thames in south west London, called it “an abuse of power” and has lodged a complaint with the Home Office.
He said: “I was a little intimidated and a bit frightened being stuck on the wrong side of immigration without my passport.
“I was about to call my wife and my nephew, who is a barrister, for help.
“I thought what do I do now? If I am in trouble, what do I do?
“They should not be allowed to use their power like that to intimidate people.”
Eddie touched down in Gatwick on a flight home from Faro at 4pm on Monday and walked through the immigration area at Gatwick’s North Terminal wearing his badge.
He said: “The gates were not working properly and when I approached the station, I was redirected.”
Eddie was directed to the manned passport and immigration stations which are populated by Home office officers.
He said: “There was a man sitting there and he said ‘take off your badge.’
“I said ‘I beg your pardon’ and he said ‘take it off.’
“When I asked him why, he said ‘well I find it offensive – take it off and follow me.’
“The officer was English and quite abrupt.”
The Home Office official took Eddie’s passport from him and led him to a glass-panelled holding area where he was held for ten minutes.
Eventually Eddie was released and handed back his passport by another official who also warned him to remove his badge.
Eddie said: “The first officer was not brave enough to come back. I think it is anti-Brexit.
“The badge says ‘Bollocks to Brexit.’
“The word has been trialled in the UK courts as not a swear word and there are signs all over London.”
Eddie, who has campaigned at pro-remain rallies, said: “I wear the badge because I am a proud Remainer and I like to show I stand as a remain supporter.
“I also wear it because I believe the referendum was corrupt and we should not allow the corruption of our democracy.
“I wear it about the town when I am walking through Kingston – you get the odd person who says they don’t agree with you but generally people don’t have a problem.”
Eddie immediately lodged a complaint with the Home Office in a bid to prevent it happening again.
He said: “My main concern was I want people to be aware because if people are more vulnerable than me, they would be very frightened in that situation.
“I don’t want him to be sacked, I just want to prevent it from happening in future.
The Home Office replied to Eddie yesterday and confirmed they are taking the matter seriously.
A spokesperson said: “We are aware of claims made by a member of the public regarding an incident at Gatwick Airport.
“We are taking this matter seriously and are investigating.”
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