Baroness tells court of flour attack alarm

The Labour peer Baroness Golding anticipated her House of Commons guests would want a good look around the corridors of power when they visited with her, five months ago. But their prolonged stay in the toilets, together with a distinct lack of interest in action in the chamber, soon had her worrying.

The Labour peer Baroness Golding anticipated her House of Commons guests would want a good look around the corridors of power when they visited with her, five months ago. But their prolonged stay in the toilets, together with a distinct lack of interest in action in the chamber, soon had her worrying.

Her growing alarm about Guy Harrison and Ronald Davis came too late to prevent a protest that ended with condoms filled with purple flour being hurled at the Prime Minister, Bow Street magistrates' court was told yesterday.

The men, both members of the Fathers4Justice group, were said to have unfurled a banner reading "flower power for dads" before the missiles hit Tony Blair, halting Prime Minister's Questions and prompting fears of a biological attack. Mr Davis, who denies disorderly behaviour, is alleged to have blocked the path of a doorkeeper and unfurled the banner. Mr Harrison, who admitted the same offence, was fined £600 on 19 May.

Baroness Golding told the court that Mr Harrison, 36, of Ashurst, Sussex, had won a VIP ticket to the Commons from her at a charity raffle. He invited Mr Davis, 48, of Worthing, West Sussex, to join him. The men were moved from their original positions and finally seated in the back row of the west gallery when the day's debates began.

"Theirs is a cause I support," said Baroness Golding, the former Newcastle-under-Lyme MP, "but I was really devastated that the Houses of Parliament could be treated in such a way by people. I was also concerned about what they had thrown because I could see the mist and the purple and didn't know what it was. I thought it might be poisonous."

Ken Jones, the Commons doorkeeper, told the court he had feared that the incident was a terrorist attack and that the powder was a biological agent. Security staff had been briefed just weeks before about the possibility of terrorists hurling dangerous substances into the chamber from public galleries.

Mr Jones told the court that the public were detained while the substance was checked, but MPs fled, despite rules aimed at averting the spread of a biological agent. The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral