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Glitter thrown over Sir Keir Starmer during speech – protester arrested over severe security breach | Politics News

A protester threw glitter over Sir Keir Starmer at the start of his speech to the Labour conference in a serious security breach.

The Opposition leader was being applauded by delegates when an activist in a suit and T-shirt stormed the stage.

The protester shouted “true democracy is citizen-led, politics needs an update” – prompting boos and looks of concern from members of the audience.

Glitter covered Sir Keir’s shoulders and the demonstrator shouted “we are in crisis, we are in crisis” as he was dragged away by security.

The 28-year-old continued to shout as he was pulled along the floor towards the exit – and was later bundled into a police van and arrested on suspicion of assault, breach of the peace and causing public nuisance.

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Labour protester taken into police van

Sir Keir was seen attempting to brush the glitter off his suit jacket, but then removed it and rolled up his sleeves with a smile.

Large specks of glitter could still be seen on his white shirt and remained there for the duration of his keynote address.

Delegates applauded sympathetically as the Labour leader composed himself.

To cheers from the crowd, Sir Keir began by saying: “If he thinks that bothers me, he doesn’t know me. Protest or power, this is why we changed our party.”

Sky’s politics presenter Sophy Ridge said: “A huge security breach at Labour Party conference – that is not how Sir Keir Starmer wanted this speech to begin.

“There will be questions asked about that man was able to get on to the stage… who it was, and how they were able to get so close to the leader of the Opposition.”

Later in the speech, Sir Keir set out his vision for a “decade of national renewal” under Labour, indicating he wants at least two terms in power.

And in a nod to New Labour, Sir Keir said the country had “13 years of ‘things can only get better’ versus 13 years of ‘things have only got worse'”.

Starmer makes direct pitch to Tory voters – live updates

A group calling itself People Demand Democracy later claimed that the protester had acted on its behalf.

In a statement, it said: “During Keir Starmer’s Labour Party Conference speech this afternoon, a single demonstrator climbed on the stage and temporarily stopped the speech. The individual covered Starmer in glitter and wore a t-shirt saying ‘People Demand Democracy’.

“People Demand Democracy is a new group calling for an upgrade to the UK political system using civil disobedience to get their message across. They are calling for a fair, proportional voting system for Westminster elections and a permanent, legally-binding national House of Citizens, selected by democratic lottery.”

It said the protester, who it didn’t name, said: “The Labour Party has been captured, donors and lobbyists have more control over Keir Starmer than his members. A House of Citizens will force politicians to listen to people, it dismantles their relationships with the rich, it would create meaningful change in our economy and fix inequality.”

Later, Merseyside Police said: “A 28-year-old man from Surrey has been arrested following an incident at the Labour Party Conference earlier this afternoon.

“He has been taken to a police station where he will be questioned by police.”

Party leaders have suffered multiple security breaches during keynote speeches to conferences over the years.

Last year, Greenpeace protesters interrupted Liz Truss – with two women brandishing a banner that read “Who voted for this?”

The poster was ripped out of their hands, and they were escorted out of the conference hall.

A member of the audience hands a P45 form (termination of employment tax form) to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May as she addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester

Back in 2017, the Conservatives had also vowed to review security measures as a prankster attempted to hand Theresa May a fake P45 during her address.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman was also heckled last week by a member of her own party, who was forcibly removed after claiming her speech was a “homophobic rant”.

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