Election violence in Britain
'Tory KO'd in Labour scrap'
By Kiran Randhawa, Evening Standard
5 May 2005
Four Tory activists today claimed they were punched,
kicked and verbally abused in a clash with Labour
rivals while canvassing commuters.
One supporter of Romford Conservative candidate Andrew
Rosindell was knocked unconscious and taken to
The fracas took place outside Romford rail station
during rush hour yesterday evening as Labour and Tory
campaigners leafleted commuters. According to
witnesses the two camps traded insults before coming
Mr Rosindell said one of his supporters, Romford
student Robert Benham, 23, was hit first after
exchanging angry words with a Labour supporter.
Tory activists said they were punched when they tried
to intervene. Police and an ambulance were called and
Mr Benham was taken to Old Church Hospital, Romford,
where he was being treated for minor head injuries.
Mr Rosindell said: "As soon as the punching began, a
Labour supporter walked towards me. I was pulled away
by one of my campaigners and ran into the station
behind a barrier. It was very scary. They just went
berserk." Tory campaigner Peter Marks, 16, said:
"About four Labour supporters grabbed Robert by the
throat. A couple of us jumped in to help and were
attacked. I took a picture with my phone for police
"Three guys punched me in the stomach twice, shouting,
'Give up the phone.' They grabbed it and deleted my
pictures. I'm shaken and shocked."
Tim Schmidt, 20, an American student intern at Mr
Rosindell's office, said: "One [Labour activist] had a
loudspeaker and was insulting Andrew. He leaped on one
of our campaigners and started choking him. I was
punched in the face twice by another man."
Romford police later released a man without charge in
relation to the attack. Labour party officials in the
area were unavailable for comment.