DAVID Cameron has insisted he has confidence in his police bodyguards despite an apparent security breach which saw a jogger collide with him and his protection team.
The Metropolitan Police Service has announced it will carry out a review into the incident, which occurred as the Prime Minister left an event at Leeds Civic Hall.
Jogger Dean Farley denied he had spotted the Prime Minister before the collision but questioned the efficiency of Mr Cameron’s security team if he had managed to get close to him so easily.
Mr Cameron appeared unaffected by the events in Leeds as he gave a scheduled statement on Europe in the Commons.
He said: “Could I put on the record for once the debt I owe to the close protection teams that look after me and the very good job that they do.”
Making light of the incident, he added: “John Prescott was in the room as I gave the speech so, as I left the room, I thought the moment of maximum danger had probably passed. But clearly that wasn’t the case.”
In 2001 Labour former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott punched a protester who egged him.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mr Cameron expressed his “gratitude and confidence” in the protection team.
Downing Street will co-operate with the Met’s review of the incident, the spokesman added.
Initial reports suggested Mr Cameron had been “shoved” by a protester, but West Yorkshire Police insisted there was “nothing sinister” and it was “just a man in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
On Facebook Mr Farley wrote: “So I’m all over the news as ‘the protester that attacked David Cameron in Leeds’. Yeah if you call brushing into someone while running then getting assaulted by half a dozen coppers in suits attacking.”
Mr Farley told BBC Radio 5 Live he was on his way to the gym to meet his personal trainer as he does nearly every lunchtime.
He said: “I ran across the road and, for all I saw, a bunch of men in suits came out of the side of the Civic Hall.
“I dodged in and out and around and the next thing I know I’ve got a half dozen suited men haranguing me and manhandling me to the floor.
“The whole while I’m asking them, ‘What’s going on? Who are you?’.
“I then was told I was being detained to prevent a further breach of the peace. And then cuffs were slapped on behind me. This is the first instance I knew that it was the police that had come for me.”
Mr Farley added: “I didn’t see David Cameron. I didn’t know it was David Cameron until they let me out of the police van an hour later and told me what I’d actually done.”
He said he asked the officers repeatedly what he had done as he was detained in the van.
He said one officer said to him: “You know what you’ve done, be quiet.”
Mr Farley said: “I gathered I’d run into somebody quite important but I couldn’t know it was David Cameron. This was supposed to be a secret meeting. No one knew he was in Leeds. Nobody said ‘stop police’ as I crossed the road. I couldn’t see any uniformed officers as I crossed the road. There was no cordon.
“It begs the question, how good is Cameron’s security if I managed to run between it before they stopped me?”
Mr Farley said he had no identification on him because he was going to the gym and his towel was wrapped around his hand, which the officers might have thought was a weapon.
Mr Farley denied the collision was some sort of protest, adding that he was “not a particularly political-minded person”.
“I’ve got earphones in, I’m going on a run. I’ve got my eyes to the floor and I didn’t even see who it was. And nobody told me who it was,” he said.
“I always thought if you asked a police officer why you were being detained they were supposed to tell you.”
Asked whether it was difficult to run into the Prime Minister, he said: “Not at all. No. I got on to the pavement, dodged around one man who I assume was his security and I didn’t know it was Cameron, as I’ve said, but I was directly into Cameron.”
The Met’s specialist protection command is responsible for the Prime Minister’s personal security and Scotland Yard said it would carry out a review of the incident in consultation with West Yorkshire Police.
A Met spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is aware of an incident in Leeds today, Monday October 27, involving a 28-year-old man and the Prime Minister as he left the Civic Hall.
“The man was arrested by local officers and was later de-arrested.
“The MPS specialist protection command is responsible for the personal protection of the Prime Minister and will now conduct a review of the incident in consultation with West Yorkshire Police.”
Tory MP Mark Pritchard said lessons should be learned about how Mr Farley was allowed to get so close to the Prime Minister.
He said: “The Met Police have some of the best close protection officers in the world. However, this was a clear breach of security and could have been far more sinister in outcome.
“With the terror threat level increased, this cannot be allowed to happen again.”