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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Labour MP cleared of assault
Ronnie Campbell MP
Mr Campbell said he was "highly relieved"
A Labour MP caught up in a restaurant brawl after insults were shouted about his wife having an affair, has been cleared of assault.

Ronnie Campbell, who represents Blyth Valley, faced common assault and harassment charges following an incident at an Indian restaurant in June last year.

It was claimed he hit constituent Graeme Gillespie, whose dining companion had shouted insults about his wife having an affair.

Following a two-day trial, magistrates cleared the 58-year-old politician of punching Mr Gillespie.


She called my wife a slag. My son couldn't take any more and he jumped up

Ronnie Campbell MP

South East Northumberland magistrates' court was told that Mr Campbell had been out with his 22-year-old son, Aidan, at the Pan Ahar restaurant on the night of the alleged attack.

The court heard how Mr Gillespie's companion, Denise Longman, allegedly began to abuse Mr Campbell and his family.

The MP later told police that when his son got up to remonstrate with Ms Longman, he followed and tried to calm the situation down.

Bind over

But Mr Gillespie ended up being punched in the face and knocked off his chair.

In a police interview Mr Campbell said Ms Longman had abused him before saying his wife Deirdre had had an affair.

"She called my wife a slag. My son couldn't take any more and he jumped up."

Mr Campbell said his son - who was later bound over together with Ms Longman - had leapt on top of Mr Gillespie.

Waiter Shaz Miah told the court that it was Aidan Campbell who had punched Mr Gillespie and not the MP.

Mr Campbell admitted he may have shoved Mr Gillespie but only to break up the fight.


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29 May 02 | England
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