A senior Tory MP has said he is “mortified” after being thrown out of the Conservative Party conference following an altercation with security.
Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown’s conduct was described as “totally unacceptable” by the party after the incident at the Manchester conference venue, but he claimed it was a “minor verbal misunderstanding”.
The Cotswolds MP had attempted to bring his fiancee, who did not have the relevant pass, into the International Lounge at the Manchester event when he was stopped by a member of staff.
He is understood to have remonstrated with the member of staff, at which point security personnel intervened.
Sir Geoffrey said: “This was a minor verbal misunderstanding. The police have not contacted me at all.
“I am mortified that something so minor seems to have been blown out of all proportion and if anyone has been offended, I apologise unreservedly.
“I will co-operate with the party in any investigation.”
A Conservative spokesman said: “The incident was totally unacceptable. Geoffrey has been asked to leave Conference and we are establishing all of the facts to see if further action is necessary.
“We will always adopt a zero tolerance approach to any inappropriate behaviour towards our hardworking staff.”
A staff member guarding the door of the International Lounge said the incident was sparked by a disagreement.
“It was a small misunderstanding,” the man said.
Greater Manchester Police said in statement: “At around 1.45pm on Tuesday 1 October 2019, an attendee to the Conservative Party Conference attempted to enter the International Lounge area of the conference without the relevant pass.
“Security staff intervened and resolved the situation without any breach of security occurring.”
The incident has echoes of the notorious “Plebgate” scandal involving Tory former chief whip Andrew Mitchell, who clashed with police at the gates of Downing Street in 2012.