MPs in cross-Croydon consensus over Coronation arrests

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has said that Britain’s new Public Order Act is ‘incompatible with the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association’. But that’s not a problem for at least two of the borough’s MPs after yesterday’s urgent question in the Commons, writes WALTER CRONXITE

‘Intelligence’: policing minister Chris Philp

Two of Croydon’s MPs were at the centre of the latest display of cross-party agreement and opposition non-opposition yesterday, when it came to an urgent debate in the House of Commons over a fascist state arresting its citizens with the most feeble of evidence, holding them without charge for almost an entire day, only to release them with one of those insincere, non-apology apologies.

The fascist state in question was not Russia, China or Saudi Arabia (and yes, there are others), but the good old United Kingdom, where you are perfectly welcome to doss down on the streets of central London for several nights without any fear of ever being moved on provided you wrap yourself in the Union flag.

Woe betide you, though, if you think we live in free country, with freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest and you want to express the view that maybe, just maybe, it is more than a little outdated that in the 21st Century we are “ruled” by a Greek-German hereditary monarch once he’s had a dose of supposedly holy oil smeared across his chest.

Rights removed: six members of the Republic group were detained for eight hours on Coronation Day without any real reason

Celebrating their cross-Croydon consensus in Parliament yesterday were Tory junior minister Chris Philp, the MP for Croydon South (his boss, Suella Braverman, had dodged the debate, as is her custom) and Sarah Jones, Labour’s policing shadow as well as MP for Croydon Central.

John Crace, the Grauniad’s parliamentary sketch writer, had a field day. Another one. You can almost sense him rubbing his hands together with glee whenever he spots poor old Philp within 10 yards of the despatch box…

“Makes you proud to be British banging people up. God save the king,” he wrote, warming to a theme of monarchist obsessions, fawning obsequiousness and Braverman’s new Public Order Act.

“Some were queasy that the new Carolean age had been greeted with new limitations on the power to protest,” Crace wrote in this morning’s paper. “A right that had previously been protected under the Human Rights Act. Now, not so much.”

The SNP’s Joanna Cherry asked the urgent question of how six people who had previously liaised with the police and informed them of their protest could get thrown in the slammer for 18 hours.

Non-opposition: Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones

With Braverman “nowhere in sight”, Crace said, “it was left to her junior, the insufferable Chris Philp, to answer on behalf of the government. Hard to believe, but Philp is getting worse by the day. His incessant brown-nosing means he seldom sees daylight any more and he has quite forgotten exactly what it is he really believes. Then maybe he doesn’t believe in anything except his own advancement. God save the king.

“… It had been literally the best weekend of everyone’s life. We could all now die happy… So it had been a privilege for us all to have been born British. He paused. Momentarily moved at how touched Prince William had been that he, the Great Philpster, had bothered to attend the service at the Abbey. God save the king.

“It had been a pity that there had been some who wanted to protest. What was wrong with these people? A clear and present danger to the whole nation. God save the king.”

Crace had a healthy dose of disdain for Jones, too, when she took part in the debate (her boss, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, had also made herself scarce, conveniently).

He wrote: “No one was more pro the monarchy than the Labour frontbench. Pierce their skin and their blood ran red, white and blue. They, too, could not believe their luck that god had chosen such a noble king. And the police had done an absolutely marvellous job on the day. But – in a barely audible whisper – it would be nice if they hadn’t arrested six innocent people. Let’s move on quickly.”

Of Labour’s policy of out-Torying the Tories, Crace noted, “It sometimes feels as if there is almost nothing they wouldn’t say not to rock the boat.”

This is what Philp actually told the House in his opening remarks: he said that the Met was acting on “an intelligence picture in the hours leading up to the coronation”.

Was he got at?: Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley

Philp said that, “It included more than one plot to cause severe disruption by placing activated rape alarms in the path of horses to induce a stampede and a separate plot to douse participants in the procession with paint.

“That was the context: a once-in-a-generation national moment facing specific intelligence threats about multiple, well-organised plots to disrupt it… The focus of the police was, rightly, on ensuring that the momentous occasion passed safely and without major disruption. That was successful. All plots to disrupt the coronation were foiled by a combination of intelligence work and proactive vigilant policing on the ground. I would like to thank the police and congratulate them on that success.”

Except that’s untrue. The six members of the organisation Republic who were arrested had discussed their demonstration plans and had got permission to conduct a peaceful protest… from the Metropolitan Police. All were released without charge. No “plot”.

The people arrested in Soho with those dreadfully dangerous rape alarms? Westminster council workers actually doing their job, trying to help vulnerable women. No “plot”.

According to Philp, and the police, there were a total of 64 arrests made. In the course of those arrests, the Met managed to find someone wanted for sexual offences, and according to Philp, “people equipped to commit criminal damage with large quantities of paint, and arrests on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, often backed by intelligence”.

“Intelligence” was evidently Philp’s special word of the day. He must have learned it specially. Of the 64 arrested, only four have been charged.

Cherry pointed out that Republic protests in Edinburgh and Glasgow had passed off perfectly peacefully on Coronation day, with no arrests.

One of the principles of policing in Britain since Sir Robert Peel’s time has been that our “Bobbies” do not act under political direction. Cherry suggested that she had a sniff of political pressure being brought to bear.

Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, had been subject, she said, to “political and public pressure on the police”, most notably when Lee Anderson, the Tory MP for Ashfield, confronted him in his usual, snide manner at a recent select committee.

Cherry added that a another senior police officer, now retired, had also said, “that the legislation, the Public Order Act 2023 and the policing Act, is very poorly defined and far too broad.”

And she asked Philp directly, “So, was political pressure brought to bear on the police?”

Philp denied it, of course. Because if such was the case, that would be a mark of a fascist state.

But Philp then had his arse handed to him on a plate by none other than one-time Tory Big Beast David Davis.

Disquiet: David Davis MP

“Nobody should question that it was a difficult time and a difficult task for the Metropolitan Police,” said the MP for Haltemprice and Howden.

“Nobody should question that, to a large extent, they carried it out brilliantly and gave us a marvellous occasion this weekend.

“That being said, within one week of the Public Order Act entering the law, and in its first serious use, we end up with the head of the Met having to apologise to people who were wrongfully arrested.

“In the event that the Home Affairs Committee reviews this matter and comes back with recommendations on how to change guidelines and perhaps laws, will the Home Office take that on board?”

Philp, described by Crace as becoming “tetchy” by this stage, did not give the simple answer “Yes”.

So King Charles III really has begun his reign with this country in the worst state that it has been in for his entire lifetime. Gawd help the king…

From our archive: Business as usual for ‘local lad’ Philp the parachutist

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Chris Philp MP, Crime, Croydon Central, Croydon South, Policing, Sarah Jones MP and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to MPs in cross-Croydon consensus over Coronation arrests

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    I have two questions:

    First, how can anyone who is a member or voter of the Conservative Party claim that they have any morals or decency? The Conservative Party makes racist comments about refugees, it lies about its own members committing fraud, it refuses to tackle foreign interference in elections, and it will make you a criminal if you protest against any of it.

    The second question is what is the point of the Labour Party? It isn’t an opposition to the Government – they have said they won’t change all of the nasty laws that the Conservatives have brought in. They no longer have any principles and abstain in votes even when they know they should be voting against – whether that’s the racist immigration Bill in parliament or the 15% Council Tax rise in Croydon.

    I do my best to stand up for what’s right and I have faith that the majority of people will do the same. The Green Party isn’t a party of saints, but I am proud that we do stick to our principles, and we do speak out against the immoral and corrupt people who have taken over our political system. It’s reassuring to see even more people voting Green at the recent election, more Greens getting elected as Councillors across the country, and even Councillors from other parties realising that their conscience is more important than party loyalty and moving over to join the Green Party.

    Join us and feel proud to know that you are doing the right thing.

  2. God help us if the Greens get in. Look at what they’ve done to Brighton. To quote local resident, Lynne (not Liz) Truss “The place turned into Armageddon, Helped by foxes and the seagulls … a tide of used teabags, eggshells, soiled kitchen paper, banana skins, smelly tin cans, and used sanitary towels (yes!) advanced in such a determined and menacing manner down nice residential streets, you could almost hear it breathing.”

Leave a Reply