Angry pub landlords and ‘regrettable’ punch-ups: When political visits go wrong

In normal times politicians are used to hitting the campaign trail to sound off from their soapboxes, glad-hand the public and kiss the odd baby.

But sometimes their interactions with the public go spectacularly wrong, as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer discovered on a visit to Bath earlier in the week ahead of the local elections.

In scenes reminiscent of EastEnders’ Peggy Mitchell, Mr Starmer was told to “get out of my pub” by angry, anti-lockdown landlord Rod Humphris.

Here, James Moore looks back at some other very public bust-ups…

Smashing time: Fiery deputy PM John Prescott gave as good as he got when he was egged by a protester while on a visit to Rhyl in north Wales in the 2001 general election.

The egg hit him in the face after he stepped off a campaign bus and Prescott immediately punched the offender.

The no-nonsense Labour MP later said the incident was “frightening and regrettable.”

Formerly nicknamed “Two Jags” he was subsequently dubbed “Two Jabs”.

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Blaring out: During the same campaign PM Tony Blair was cornered on a visit to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The Labour premier was confronted by angry Sharron Storer who launched an emotional outburst over the NHS treatment of her cancer-suffering partner.

Milking it: In May 2019 Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was “milkshaked” by a member of the public on a walkabout in Newcastle.

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Remainer Paul Crowther, 32, who later admitted assault in court and lost his job over the incident, said he had lobbed the banana and salted caramel drink in a “moment of madness”.

Goo are ya? Labour’s business secretary Peter Mandelson was slimed in 2009 by environmental activist Leila Deen, below, who flung green custard in his face.

The 29-year-old, protesting about the expansion of Heathrow Airport, was later cautioned over the incident in London.

Taking the mic: During the 2010 general election campaign PM Gordon Brown was challenged during a visit to Rochdale by 65-year-old Gillian Duffy who quizzed him over immigration policy.

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Afterwards, in his car, the Labour leader was caught calling her a “bigoted woman” by a mic he was still wearing. Brown was forced to apologise and the affair was soon dubbed “Bigot-gate”.

Boris bawled out: In September 2019, on a walkabout in Morley, West Yorks, PM Boris Johnson was heckled on camera by a local voter who said: “Please leave my town!”

In the same month, he was confronted at a market in Doncaster by a female voter who told him he had a “cheek” to visit and berated the Tory leader over Brexit.

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What a tweet: Labour’s Emily Thornberry sparked outrage on a visit to Rochester during a 2014 by-election in the Kent constituency with a tweeted image of a house draped in St George’s flags and a white van outside saying: “Image from Rochester”.

Resident Dan Ware branded her a “snob” and the red-faced MP resigned from the party’s front bench.

Brochure bashing: In 2013 UKIP’s MEP Godfrey Bloom whacked Channel 4’s Michael Crick over the head with his party’s conference brochure, after accusing the reporter of being “racist” for asking why there were no black faces on its cover.

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