[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Kinnock barracked in beach demo
Lord Kinnock confronts protesters
Lord Kinnock said 'lies' had been told about him
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock has clashed with semi-clothed pensions campaigners on Bournemouth beach.

One, John Benson, of Cardiff, called him a "bloody traitor", a "bloody disgrace" and told him to "bugger off".

Lord Kinnock attended the protest because he believed his comments on pensions at a fringe meeting at Labour's conference had been misquoted.

He said he wanted to find the "guy who has been telling lies about me", but called the protesters "very decent".

'Into the sea'

Demonstrators gathered in various states of undress on Bournemouth beach to criticise what they say is government inaction to help the victims of final-salary pension schemes which went bust.

When Lord Kinnock approached them, Mr Benson, a former steelworker who lost most of his occupational pension when ASW collapsed in 2002, said: "You're a bloody traitor. You're a disgrace. You're like Gordon Brown.

"A bloody disgrace. Now bugger off with him. Bugger off Kinnock."

John Benson
Protester John Benson called Lord Kinnock a 'disgrace'

Bournemouth East Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood and shadow work and pensions minister Chris Grayling, who had come to support the protest, looked on while Lord Kinnock faced his detractors.

Mr Ellwood said: "Go and surround Neil Kinnock and invite him into the sea.

"Let's go. If he wants to come down here and participate, then let's get in there."

Mr Benson then added: "He has not supported us. Mr Kinnock, you've not supported us."

Lord Kinnock replied: "Yes I have... I will never ignore you."

Afterwards, Lord Kinnock, who was Labour leader from 1983 to 1992, said of the protesters: "They're very decent people and they're making a point...

"They've got a case they've been dreadfully let down by the system. The government has sought to provide some support and is following it through still."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific