Fight breaks out at Commons reception for journalists

Police had to use CS spray and arrested a man after a fight broke out in the Houses of Parliament at a Tory party reception for journalists.

Two guests at a House of Commons reception hosted by Tory party chairman Eric Pickles began scuffling shortly after 9.15pm yesterday.

The pair – who have not been identified – left the event and continued their argument, but were stopped in the corridor by a police officer.

One of the men was aggressive and the officer used their CS spray, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said.

The man was arrested and was taken into custody at a central London police station. A police officer was slightly injured during the altercation.

It is understood that the incident happened in the corridor behind the Speaker’s Chair, just yards from the Commons Chamber where MPs were debating Africa.

Sources said that parliamentary sittings were not disrupted.

The people involved in the altercation had attended the reception hosted by Pickles but were not linked to the Conservative Party, a Tory source said.

The source added: “They were journalists who were present at the reception, but they have no link to the Conservative Party.”

It is understood party officials were escorting guests without Westminster security passes, who are not allowed to roam restricted areas of the Palace, to and from exits to the building during the reception.

Those involved in the incident are believed to have slipped away and managed to get into the area behind the Speaker’s Chair where the police became involved.

According to the Guardian, the arrested man was not a political journalist but worked for “a London multimedia company”.

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