Iain Duncan Smith: Five arrested after former Tory leader ‘assaulted with traffic cone’

Iain Duncan Smith heckled on the street in Manchester

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Greater Manchester Police said three men and two women were arrested following reports of an assault on Portland Street. The incident took place at 4pm after Sir Iain had attended a fringe event on Brexit at the conference. The police said they believed there had been no injuries following the incident.

They added: “There aren’t believed to be any serious injuries, and following a short foot pursuit three men and two women have been arrested in connection with it, and remain in custody for questioning.

“Inquiries are ongoing.”

Afterwards, Sir Iain arrived at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel where he joined Lord Frost for a debate on Brexit.

The former leader of the Conservative party said: “I’m glad to be here. I can honestly say that I nearly wasn’t here because I was assaulted by a bunch of protestors on the way here.”

He then explained to the audience he had been dragged from event to speak to the police.

He added: “That’s why the police were dragging me outside the door, I’m afraid.

“Anyway, it’s good to be here – I can genuinely say that more than the others on the panel!”

It was reported that Sir Iain had been followed by a group of protestors as he walked to the event.

He claimed the group had been shouting at him as he walked down the street.

Sir Iain told the Spectator he had been hit on the head by a traffic cone.

He said: “For half a second I was about to go up and punch them, I went forward and they all backed off – I nearly knocked them out, lost my rag.

“I can’t tell you very much other than they just followed us, used abusive language, attacked us and used a cone.

“They were shouting all along and then they smashed the cone on the back of my head and so I turned and grabbed the cone and looked at them and I took a pace towards them and they backed off.

“I threw the cone on the ground, said ‘pathetic’ and turned and walked off.”

A heavy police presence has been visible at this year’s Tory conference.

Under Operation Protector, police have been seen around Manchester Central as the second day of the conference comes to a close.

The conference will end on Wednesday and will feature a speech from Boris Johnson.

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