A leading member of the “yellow vests”, who have been disrupting Westminster with abusive anti-EU protests, has been arrested.
James Goddard was detained outside St James’s Park underground station on suspicion of a public order offence at 11.42am on Saturday.
A police spokeswoman said the arrest related to “incidents that took place in the Westminster area on Monday 7 January”.
Since the “yellow vests” group formed in December, protesters have verbally abused MPs, journalists and Remainers outside parliament, visited media and government offices, and blocked London bridges.
Officers have been investigating whether an offence was committed after MP Anna Soubry was called a “Nazi” while giving interviews outside Westminster on Monday.
During a live discussion on the BBC, people off-camera could be heard shouting, “Soubry is a Nazi.”
A cross-party group of at least 55 MPs signed a formal letter to Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick to express their “serious concerns” about the “deteriorating public order and security situation” outside parliament.
Speaker Mr Bercow told the Commons on Monday he was “keeping a close eye on events” involving “aggressive and threatening behaviour” towards MPs.
The UK “yellow vest” group called a national day of action on Saturday, with protests starting in London and elsewhere at midday.
Mr Goddard’s supporters claimed he was about to hand himself in at Holborn police station at noon on Saturday, just a short while after he was arrested, according to BBC journalist Daniel Sandford.
The yellow vest protester vowed that the group’s activities would continue after Facebook and PayPal suspended his accounts.
“They had me removed but I most certainly haven’t gone,” he wrote on a new fundraising page set up on the DonorBox website on Wednesday.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told The Independent: “We can confirm that a man in his thirties was arrested at 11.42hrs on Saturday 12 January, outside St James’s Park tube station, on suspicion of a public order offence.
“He is currently in police custody and is being taken to a central London police station.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies