- The protesters (Greenpeace?) came in as visitors. The yellow stickers on their jackets give it away. There are up to half a dozen of them. With the help of the security cameras at the visitors entrance, it shouldn’t be hard to find out who let them in. If the Commons pass-holder was aware of what they were up to (and looking at how these people are dressed they were not here for a pleasant meeting with an MP) they are in for a rough ride. Is this criminal?
- The last Sergeant at Arms, who is in charge of security, didn’t have his contract renewed after the last cock-up, when Greenpeace scaled Big Ben tower to protest about Trident nuclear missiles. This is a big test for Jill Pay, who replaced him on January 30. She is the first woman to hold the post and probably the first non-Brigadier. According to one MP who sang her praises to me recently, she is a formidable operator with a strong track record working in the Commons. Let’s see how she copes.
- Commons staff gathering outside are reacting with a mix of bemusement and shock. One said he was pleased to see the flags up there but would like to see another one alongside promoting Margate as an alternative runway to Heathrow. Another person who clearly has more responsibility for dealing with this mess said: “Bloody hell. Just think of the paperwork.”
- According to one of the old hands who works in maintenance, the banner is hanging above the prime minister’s office in the Commons. One doubts whether the prank was that precisely planned. But Greenpeace, if it is Greenpeace, seem to be making a habit of embarrassing the good folk protecting our MPs.
UPDATE: Apologies to Greenpeace: I wrongly assumed they were behind the stunt. The culprits are Plane Stupid.