Great Britain

Cops quiz man & hunt another over hounding of BBC journalist Nicholas Watt by anti-lockdown mob in Westminster

COPS are tonight quizzing a suspect and hunting a second over the hounding of a top BBC journalist chased through the streets of Westminster by anti-lockdown campaigners.

Nicholas Watt was surrounded by a baying mob who called him a "c***" and blocked his path as he tried to escape on Monday.

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In shocking footage, Newnight's political editor was forced to run for the shelter of Downing Street after one man barged into him.

And tonight, Met Police chiefs say a man in his 50s is being held over the incident - while a second has been identified and is being tracked down.

They also confirmed there'll be a review into officers' actions during the incident - after footage showed lines of cops in high-vis ignoring Mr Watt's plight.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of a video that has been shared online which shows a journalist being aggressively confronted and chased by a group of protestors in the vicinity of Whitehall on Monday.

"The behaviour shown in the video is unacceptable. Members of the public, of any profession, have the right to go about their day without being subjected to verbal harassment or actions that put them in fear for their safety.

"After reviewing the video footage, a number of possible offences were identified and an investigation was launched.

"A man in his fifties is being interviewed by Met detectives at a police station in Hertfordshire in relation to the incident.

"A second man has been identified and is being actively sought by officers.

"We also acknowledge the concerns that have been raised about the police response.

"We take those concerns seriously and will be reviewing our actions with a view to improving the policing of events for all Londoners."

Mr Watt was first captured on video walking quickly through Whitehall near rows of police.

In the footage, the journalist - who wore a blue BBC lanyard around his neck - was then followed closely by a man wearing a leather waistcoat and a blonde woman in a minidress who pointed their fingers at him.

Mr Watt, who wore a blue face mask, then turned to escape their path - only for a crowd of around 15 to chase him across a road.

But more quickly followed - and the campaigners turned nasty, chanting abuse at him as he kept his head down.

One man in a navy jacket then grabbed Mr Watt by the shoulder as he recorded the incident with his mobile phone.

Others shouted at him: "Why have you lied?"

The reporter was finally forced to run away as the crowd pressed in and began booing.

He returned to the line of cops - and pushed through a barrier into Downing Street to escape as protesters shouted: "Shame on you."

A spokesman for BBC News said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable.

"All journalists should be able to carry out their work without intimidation or impediment.”

The Prime Minister is among those to hit out at Mr Watt's ordeal.

Ex-Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan said today: “Disgusting ignorant scum. Too thick to realise this journalist has nothing to do with Govt policies.”

The Prime Minister also tweeted: "Disgraceful to see the hounding of Nick Watt doing his job.

"The media must be able to report the facts without fear or favour – they are the lifeblood of our democracy."

BBC newsdesk duty editor Neil Henderson also shared the video. He said: “A BBC Correspondent doing his job in Whitehall yesterday. Where does this end?”

The shocking incident happened hours before the PM announced a delay to 'freedom day' last night.

Boris Johnson confirms Freedom Day IS delayed and warns ‘hospitalisations will reach first peak’ if we unlock now

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