Independent mayoral candidate Brian Rose has labelled his fine for campaigning from his ‘battle bus’ by police in Southwark two weeks ago as political.
The bus was also stopped by police last Monday when Rose wasn’t on it and they were allowed to continue on their way.
Rose has been on a campaign tour of all 32 London boroughs in advance of the mayoral election in May, he broadcasts livestreams and Q&As from the studio inside.
Rose said: “This seems political, the Lib-Dems were out leafleting but we were stopped.
“We believe in democracy and if you can’t choose your candidate then there is no real democracy.
“I was walking down the middle of the street talking to my phone, something I do that probably not many mayoral candidates do.
“I record videos to my phone and all of a sudden I was surrounded by ten City of London police officers and five police vans and I think I handled it pretty well.
“They told me we weren’t allowed to campaign, which didn’t make sense because we had parking permits and filming permits and we were doing everything in a COVID secure way.
“We took it as a bit of a shock.”
Six members of Rose’s team and Brian Rose himself were fined £200 for violating lockdown rules, police said canvassing was not exempt from lockdown restrictions.
Rose’s lawyers drafted a letter which was sent to all three major police commissioners about the incident and the confusion over campaigning rules which was acknowledged by all three.
The City of London police also confirmed that canvassing is not allowed under lockdown rules.
A spokesman for the force told the BBC: “Anyone canvassing can expect the police to enforce the legislation, which could include issuing fines.”
The ‘battle bus’ was in south west London last week as Rose continued to take questions from voters.
Rose said: “People are seeing our bus and at the same time I’m answering questions from them digitally.
“It’s been an amazing way to connect with people.”
Rose is a broadcaster who hosts longform interviews with celebrities, media figures, sportspeople and academics, he has also hosted conspiracy theorist David Icke and coronavirus conspiracy theorists Rashid Bhuttar and Dr Judy Mikovits.
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