Sir Mark Rowley skilfully handled pointed questions from Lee Anderson during a tense debate over the Extinction Rebellion protests.
The deputy Tory chair, who recently took on a £100,000-a-year second job as a GB News presenter, clashed with the Met Police Commissioner over the force’s handling of environmental activists who brought parts of central London to a standstill in recent days.
After a few tense exchanges, it became clear that Anderson didn’t quite have a full understanding of the law on demonstrators’ rights.
Speaking at the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the backbench MP told Sir Mark: “We’ve seen protesters once again in Parliament Square setting up some sort of Glastonbury-on-Thames gazebo with some pretty poor artists, if my memory serves me right.
“Do you agree with the recommendations by Policy Exchange (a Tory-linked think tank) that there should be zero tolerance of these events?”
He added: “Just this morning we’ve seen protesters on Parliament Square, probably as you were coming into the building.
“Don’t you think it’s time you left the ivory tower and got out there on Whitehall and sorted these people out?
“People of London – the tourists, the people that work at this place, the taxpayers, bus drivers – are getting fed up of it and you’re just letting it happen.
“You’ve got the powers now to do this.”
But the country’s most senior officer hit back: “Those powers aren’t in existence yet.”
In increasingly fiery exchanges, the MP for Ashfield, Notts, claimed: “That’s not strictly true, is it? You can move these people on, they’re obstructing the highway.”
Slapping down Anderson, the Commissioner rapped: “You’re making selective comments based on a partial understanding of the law.
“I do not want Londoners disrupted anymore than anybody else does, but the law is very clear that protest is disruptive and to a certain extent that is allowed.
“You might not like that but I have to work to the law rather than whim.”
As another MP claimed: “It’s not right,” Sir Mark told her: “It is right.”
Watch the debate in full below:
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