Tory staffer flees after being spotted at Jeremy Corbyn rally

Exit

Michael Crick, the Channel 4 News reporter, has chased a paid Tory apparatchik from a rally staged by leftwing Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn.

Crick, who is well known for pursuing uncooperative politicians with a camera and microphone, says in a tweet that he discovered Mike Watkinson, a Conservative party press officer, sitting near the front of the rally in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

“When I confronted him he fled,” Crick posted.

True to form, video from incident shows Crick, microphone in hand, incessantly questioning Watkinson for almost two minutes before the young man was able to reach his car and drive away.

“Why are you walking out?” Crick asked. “Were you sent here by the Conservative party? Have you come to gather intelligence? Were you sent here by Conservative headquarters? You do seem to be leaving this meeting rather rapidly.”

After realising his mistake by impulsively answering to his name, Watkinson remained silent. It is not known why he was there although, according to Channel 4 News, the Conservatives confirmed that their staff member was attending what they called a “public event”.

Michael Crick, political correspondent for Channel 4 News, chases Mike Watkinson to his car.

The scene was witnessed by a number of political journalists who had gathered to see Corbyn, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership contest, hold the final major rally of his campaign.

Jim Waterson, deputy editor of Buzzfeed UK, tweeted: “Michael Crick just chased a suspected Tory spy out of the Corbyn venue and 50yds to his car. He is refusing to say anything. Cracking.”

In a second tweet, he cited Jim Pickard, the chief political correspondent of the Financial Times, as saying that what gave the spy away was a copy of the Daily Mail, which could be seen in Watkinson’s hands as he fled Crick’s questions.

Ruaridh Arrow, a producer at BBC Newsnight, tweeted: “There’s nothing quite like a Michael Crick chase scene!”

He added: “It was a bit like The Thick of It meets The Hunger Games but set in a Nuneaton car park ...”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Damien Gayle, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 8th September 2015 19.59 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010