Page last updated at 22:06 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 23:06 UK

Migrant row minister hit by pie

Phil Woolas hit by pie
The minister was hit in the face with a pie while appearing in a debate

Immigration minister Phil Woolas has become the victim of a pie-throwing protester, angry at his call to limit UK immigration.

A member of the No Borders group threw a cream pie into the minister's face while he was speaking at a debate at Manchester University.

A spokeswoman for the group said Mr Woolas had been "spouting right-wing anti-immigration policies".

A Home Office spokeswoman said the minister declined to comment.

The No Borders group, which campaigns against immigration controls, were angered by Mr Woolas' recent remarks, in which he said the government would not allow the UK's population to rise as high as 70 million.

We threw the pie because we didn't want to engage in debate and legitimise what he was saying
No Borders spokeswoman

The Oldham East and Saddleworth MP denied that he wanted a "numerical cap" on immigration.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith later said Mr Woolas had not been "gagged" after her department pulled him from BBC One's Question Time.

Mr Woolas was targeted when he attended an environmental debate held at Manchester University student union on Friday afternoon.

As he arrived the minister was confronted with a mock "border control" and was asked for his passport.

Then, shortly after he began to speak, a woman rose from the audience and threw a pie, believed to be made of Bourbon Creams biscuits and vegan cream, into his face at close range.

Phil Woolas wipes pie off face
Mr Woolas caused controversy with recent remarks on migrants

A spokeswoman for No Borders said: "The woman ran away. Mr Woolas was shocked and there was a bit of an awkward silence as he left the room to clean himself up.

"We threw the pie because we didn't want to engage in debate and legitimise what he was saying.

"What he was spouting were right wing anti-immigration policies. The danger is that people like him are making such views mainstream."

Mr Woolas was unharmed and later rejoined the debate. It is not known whether he was accompanied by any security at the time of the incident.


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