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Man denies assaulting Sir Iain Duncan Smith by putting traffic cone on his head

Sir Ian Duncan Smith was allegedly the victim of an assault (James Manning/PA)
Sir Ian Duncan Smith was allegedly the victim of an assault (James Manning/PA)

A man has denied assaulting Sir Iain Duncan Smith by putting a traffic cone on the former Tory party leader’s head.

Elliot Bovill, 31, is said to have attacked the 68-year-old during the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on October 4 last year.

Prosecutor Sudara Weerasena told Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday that Sir Iain had been followed by protesters after he left his hotel with his wife Betsy and a friend.

“Mr Bovill approaches Sir Iain Duncan Smith and he has a traffic cone, which he places on Sir Iain Duncan Smith’s head and then he runs off,” she said, outlining the allegation.

Uyghur protest
Sir Iain Duncan Smith used to lead the Tory party (Yui Mok/PA)

Bovill, from Manchester, appeared in the dock, where he pleaded not guilty to a single count of assault by beating.

He faces a two-day trial alongside Radical Haslam, 28, from Manchester, and Ruth Wood, 50, from Cambridge, who both denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause Sir Iain harassment, alarm or distress.

Wood was said to have been banging a drum as she allegedly called the former work and pensions secretary “Tory scum” and told him: “Get out of Manchester, you’re not welcome.”

The court heard Haslam was carrying a board reading, “Not fit to govern”, and said to Sir Iain: “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said Sir Iain, who led the Tory Party between 2001 and 2003, would likely be required to give evidence at the trial, which will be held in Manchester.

He granted all three defendants unconditional bail and told them they are not required to attend the next hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where a trial date will be fixed.

Following the incident last year, Sir Iain told The Spectator magazine he was struck on the back of the head with a traffic cone as he headed to a fringe event, while a friend said he escaped without injury.

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