Exclusive: Women Labour helpers knocked to ground by Tories

John Prescott team attacked in Poplar; man led away in handcuffs.

I have just been told that two female Labour volunteers accompanying John Prescott were knocked to the ground during a scuffle in Poplar after they were attacked by two men wearing John Prescott masks. They were later allegedly revealed to be Tory council candidates, one of whom is allegedly a Martin Coxall.

From a Labour source:

Two men barged the crowd around John Prescott in Poplar on his walkabout and hit one of our female volunteers and knocked her to the ground, and barged another female volunteer, knocking her to the ground. Their masks were pulled off and they are Tory council candidates. One of the men is Martin Coxall, who was taken away in handcuffs by the police.

From John Prescott on Twitter:

Tory council candidate in Poplar Martin Coxall attacked two women in scuffle trying to get me. Expect this from BNP not Tories.

UPDATE: Labour's local candidate for Poplar and Limehouse, Jim Fitzpatrick, has said: ''This was appalling and disgraceful behaviour by two of David Cameron's Conservative candidates who acted like hooligans. This kind of behaviour has no place in British politics, and I will be writing to David Cameron to ask him to take appropriate action.''

UPDATE: From the Guardian:

4.00pm: Campaigning seems to have taken a nasty turn in Poplar, east London where two female Labour volunteers were attacked by two men in a Prescott mask and knocked to the ground, according to the New Statesman.

The two men were apparently Tory council candidates. Read the whole thing [on this blog].

UPDATE: Tessa Jowell, the minister for the London, said:

David Cameron and Eric Pickles must make a public apology for the totally unacceptable behaviour of one of his Conservative candidates. Martin Coxall's thuggish actions terrified innocent onlookers and injured two women.

This kind of behaviour has no place in the democratic process. This kind of violent behaviour is not what we expect from a Conservative Party that aspires to government. David Cameron must take action and ensure that Martin Coxall does not stand under the Conservative banner at this election.

UPDATE: Now with video, courtesy of Go Fourth.