LONDON – David Cameron’s office has denied calling the police to deal with a Bishop who was attempting to deliver a letter on food poverty, despite claims to the contrary by vicars and activists.
The Bishop of Oxford travelled to Cameron’s Witney constituency in order to deliver a copy of an open letter to all major political party leaders which calls for action on the causes of food poverty.
The Rt Revd John Pritchard, accompanied by the campaigning vicar Revd Keith Hebden and a group of supporters, was met at the closed door of the West Oxfordshire Conservative Association by police officers.
This prompted a spokesman for End Hunger Fast, a Christian food campaign, to say out of the three major party leaders Cameron’s office was the “only one to call the police”. They also insisted that the protestors had called Cameron’s office in advance to warn that they were going to visit.
But this afternoon staff at West Oxfordshire Conservative Association insisted that no one there called the police and they had received no advance notice that the Bishop was about to visit the office.
“The Bishop of Oxford’s petition about world hunger will be passed on to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street,” the office added.
But Reverend Hebden insists that that it was the decision of Cameron’s office to call the police.
“Yes they were [called by the constituency office],” he told BuzzFeed. “That’s what we were told by the police officers. There was no need to call the police and there was every reason to open the door.”
Thames Valley Police confirmed officers had been called at 11.38 am last Wednesday “to be made aware of a peaceful protest” involving 20 to 30 people but could not confirm who had requested the police presence.
“We were just there to facilitate the peaceful protest,” the spokesman added.