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Election 2010: Poplar Prescott attack: 'It was valid'

PUBLISHED: 12:45 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:58 05 October 2010

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A TORY candidate who was arrested after a scuffle broke out during a visit by John Prescott to the East End insisted this week it was a valid protest . Paul Ingham, who was arrested on suspicion of assault during the former Deputy Prime Minister s campa

A TORY candidate who was arrested after a scuffle broke out during a visit by John Prescott to the East End insisted this week it was a "valid protest".

Paul Ingham, who was arrested on suspicion of assault during the former Deputy Prime Minister's campaign visit to Chrisp Street Market in Poplar, claimed it was he and his Tory colleague Martin Coxall that were met with "aggression and violence" from the Labour supporters.

Mr Ingham and Mr Coxall, who are both standing as council candidates for East India and Lansbury ward, were suspended from the Conservative party after they turned up while Mr Prescott was making a speech to Labour supporters.

They were wearing masks of his face and holding placards referring to his infamous 'Two Jags' nickname. A confrontation soon kicked off and Mr Ingham and Mr Coxhall were arrested.

They were bailed to appear again on May 10 but with nominations for Tower Hamlets council candidates closing two days before the incident, residents will still have a chance to vote for the men today.

Mr Ingham, 52, who is appealing his party's decision, told the Advertiser: "I was there to make a peaceful public demonstration and have a bit of fun at Mr Prescott's expense He was coming to support a Labour MP candidate who has done nothing for the area. It was a valid protest.

"All we were doing was shouting slogans and holding up the placards. But Labour supporters grabbed Martin's placard and tore it out of his hands and at that point, things got a little less friendly.

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