A Yorkshire Conservative MP says he was the victim of a “stitch-up” after being accused of “physically threatening” a comedian who was interviewing him for a BBC TV show.
Shipley MP Philip Davies responded to claims made by Luisa Omielan about what she described as a “horrible meeting” at his Westminster office this week.
Ms Omielan, who was filming for a BBC Three series, Politics for B*****s, said she tried to ask about NHS funding cuts and homelessness but was forced to leave after the MP suspended the interview.
She later wrote on Twitter: [He] called me a left wing extremist Corbynista, ignored me when I told him about my mother and physically blocked me when I tried to leave his office as he wanted to take the camera.
“I said no chance and ran out, accidentally pushed passed his assistant. He came into my personal space and shoved me a little as I tried to get out the door which he was blocking. It was horrific.”
She later added: “I never expected an MP to behave in this way and be physically threatening. We can disagree on matters without resorting to name-calling or shoving. I expected him to have answers and a cause not a complete shut-down defensive.”
I never expected an MP to behave in this way and be physically threatening.Luisa Omielan
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Davies denied blocking Ms Omielan as she tried to leave but said said he tried to take the camera being used to film the interview, as he said she had not asked for permission.
He said he initially turned down the interview because he feared the comedian was a “hard left-wing Corbynista”, but was told it would be for the BBC and would not have a political agenda.
Mr Davies said: “The first question, I nearly pulled up stumps. It was horrifically offensive.
“She said ‘you are from Yorkshire, people from Yorkshire are really friendly and community-spirited, how can anyone from Yorkshire be a Tory MP when you don’t believe any of that stuff’.
“I thought that was incredibly offensive, not just to me but to anyone who voted for me.
“I tried as best as I could to deal with that question. She then made an assertion about cuts to the NHS. Then I thought ‘how can this be a BBC documentary?’”
Mr Davies said he asked Ms Omielan to stop filming and asked her to hand over the camera, but she refused and “made a dash for the door”.
He added: “In Parliament you can’t have unaccompanied visitors running round the corridors. People have got to be accompanied at all times. I tried to close the door because she had to leave with Danielle [a member of staff] and her two colleagues. I wanted them to go.
“She was already too far through the door. She tried to close the door but she was gone.”
He added: “I appreciate she wants to embellish it and make herself look like the victim. If anyone was the victim it was me, the victim of a stitch-up.
“She got very agitated when I said I was going to complain to [BBC Director-General] Lord Hall and it seemed to me she was going to get her retaliation in first.”