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.

 

 

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland