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A man who interrupted Boris Johnson during a speech in Rotherham has said he felt compelled to heckle the prime minister over the suspension of parliament.
Ben Gilchrist, 41, the deputy chief executive of a Manchester charity, forced Johnson to break off from a speech about regional devolution when he began heckling him about the prorogation.
“He got me going when he started talking about how he valued local representation. So I jumped to my feet and tried to make my way towards him,” Gilchrist told the Guardian after being ejected from the Convention of the North at the Magna Science Adventure Centre.
Johnson had been talking about giving local people the power to sort out what mattered to them when Gilchrist yelled: “Like our MPs, Boris? Maybe get back to parliament.”
Johnson responded by saying: “I’m all in favour of our MPs.”
Gilchrist then said: “Why are you not with them in parliament sorting out the mess that you created?”
As he was removed from the hall, Gilchrist shouted: “Why don’t you sort it out, Boris?”
Later Johnson said: “Whatever the shenanigans that may be going on at Westminster, we will get on with delivering our agenda and preparing to take this country out of the EU on October 31st.”
He jokingly added: “To the gentlemen who left prematurely, not necessarily under his own steam, that is the answer to his question.”
Johnson’s response further angered Gilchrist. He told the Guardian: “The idea that it’s just ‘shenanigans’ is ridiculous. That’s our democracy. That’s why I’m so incensed. They think they can joke their way through this and cover it over with some sort of veneer of representing the people.
“But that’s what our MPs are elected to do, that’s why they should be in there. There will not be sufficient time to debate this properly or hold the government to account and he’s had deliberately gone about setting up that scenario.”
Gilchrist said he was not a member of any political party and he was not harmed by the security guards who dragged him out of the venue.
He said: “Two security guys very quickly came either side of me and started dragging me backwards under my arms. They were just doing their job and they didn’t hurt me. They tried to push me out of the nearest fire escape, which wouldn’t open. So we had to go to the next exit.”
Gilchrist’s employer, which he did not want to name, helps voluntary groups with fundraising. He said: “I attend a lot of devolution-focused events because my job is trying to champion people’s voices.”
He added: “I looked like a delegate because I was a delegate. But it was a personal reaction rather than a planned, organisational approach. I was thinking that if I get anywhere near a minister I would raise my voice. It was not fully intentional but I had prepared myself.”
Earlier Johnson was confronted by a voter in Doncaster who accused him of telling fairytales about public spending and Brexit.
Speaking in Doncaster market, the woman told Johnson: “People have died because of austerity. And then you’ve got the cheek to come here and tell us austerity is over and it’s all good now, we’re going to leave the EU and everything is going to be great. It’s just a fairytale.”