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  MiP Files: The protest in the Commons
Updated 16 September 2004, 15.06
Man in Parliament looks at the Commons protesters
Our Man in Parliament unlocks some of the secrets of the most powerful place in Britain - parliament.

Here he tells us why everyone's talking about the breach of security at the House of Commons during the fox hunting debate.


What happened in the House of Commons yesterday?
Five protesters stormed into the House of Commons chamber while MPs debated whether to ban hunting with dogs.

What are they angry about?
The protesters, who include Otis Ferry, son of 1970s rock star Brian Ferry, don't wanting fox hunting to be banned.

Why is everyone making such a fuss - surely the protesters were just trying to let MPs know how strongly they felt?
It is being seen by the authorities as a serious breach of security. If the protesters had been terrorists they could have killed MPs, they say.

How did they get in?
They simply strolled in through a public entrance disguised as building contractors, with hard hats and orange fluorescent bibs. They will have been checked by security guards, like at an airport, but once inside they easily found their way to the Commons chamber, where MPs work. They ditched the fancy dress in a corridor and managed to get through a security door into the chamber itself.

Did they have security passes or did someone let them in?
Man in Parliament's BBC colleagues tried the door after they had left and there was nothing wrong with the security lock. The police are saying it could have been an inside job. In other words, someone - an MP, journalist or someone working for an MP - may have let the protesters in with their security pass.

Will security now be beefed up?
Almost certainly. At the moment a man called the Serjeant-at-Arms is in charge. His job dates back to the Middle Ages, which is why he wears tights and breeches and carries a sword. He will probably be replaced by more modern security guards, possibly armed with guns.


More InfoBORDER=0
Find OutGuide to fox hunting
ChatFox hunting ban: your views
VoteShould fox hunting be banned?
Club'Foxes should be entitled to live'
ClubHunting should NOT be banned

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
More guards after Commons protest
MPs vote to ban hunting with dogs

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