Media director bailed after Commons clash

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The Independent Online

The director of a media company has been released on bail following a brawl in the House of Commons just yards from the Commons chamber, which police broke up using CS spray.

Ian Thomas, 40, had to be restrained after allegedly punching and injuring a policeman who had challenged him over his accreditation. Mr Thomas, who is a co-founder of Sugar Media, an independent digital publishing firm, had been attending a drinks reception laid on by the Tory chairman, Eric Pickles, before the incident.

It is thought that an argument with an acquaintance spilled out into the Commons corridors following the reception. Some MPs thought that protesters were attempting to storm the chamber upon hearing the scuffle.

Gillian Merron, a Foreign Office minister who entered the chamber as the fight happened, revealed to worried MPs that CS spray had been used. "We heard some loud bangs and thought that it must be protesters trying to get into the chamber," said Kerry McCarthy, a Labour MP.

"At that point we had no idea what was going on and when Gillian told us CS gas had been used, we did not know it had been used by the police rather than an intruder."

Mr Thomas was bailed until 7 July.