The Home of Commons’ previous formal photographer, responsible for famous front page visuals of the final two year’s Brexit drama, has had his residence raided by police after a clash with parliamentary authorities.
Officers from the Metropolitan police turned up at Mark Duffy’s London residence on Wednesday early morning with a courtroom buy allowing them to look for for parliamentary “Pugin-developed home furnishings, candlesticks, ceramics, clocks or lamps”.
Nonetheless, the only items police seized ended up a plastic indicator bearing previous Brexit secretary David Davis’s identify and a piece of material with the insignia of Portcullis Home.
“It was about 8am and I went to the doorway and there ended up 8 police and a police van. They advised me they ended up hunting for home furnishings from the Home of Commons and a lamp. I couldn’t believe that it,” mentioned Duffy.
He mentioned the police spent two several hours browsing his residence but the only matter that they seized ended up the indicator, which he had “retrieved from a bin”, and the piece of fabric.
The photographer, who lives in south London, was sacked from his submit final September for allegedly bringing parliament into disrepute around social media posts and use of summary visuals in an art exhibition.
“I like to imagine of myself as a decent person. That they leapt to the summary that I would steal after doing work in parliament for 5 many years is stunning.
“How did they imagine I received an armchair out of parliament?” he mentioned.
The Met verified they had “received a report of theft from the Properties of Parliament” on 31 January.
“It was reported that a amount of items had allegedly been stolen from the Palace of Westminster by a previous employee. On Wednesday twelve February a look for warrant was carried out an deal with in Lambeth. No arrests ended up designed.”
Duffy states he has endured acute worry and shock considering that the raid together with tremors and has consulted with a law firm around his legal rights.
Mark Lewis of Patron Legislation mentioned: “I have been instructed by Mr Duffy to get action in respect of the harassment and abuse that has been dished out in a crystal clear misuse of govt powers.”
The clash with his previous businesses is a world absent from the drama of final calendar year when his photographs ended up regularly employed on newspapers’ front pages.
His visuals of Theresa May perhaps, John Bercow, Boris Johnson and several others captured the tumult and remarkably charged exchanges of the final two many years in parliament and ended up dubbed “accidental renaissance” in some quarters for their composition and remarkable material
Among the the most famous was a single of the health and fitness secretary, Matt Hancock, schooling secretary, Damian Hinds, and other MPs together with Jo Churchill beseeching Bercow to view a video clip of Jeremy Corbyn who was alleged to have muttered the words and phrases “stupid woman” in a heated exchange with May perhaps.
But he clashed with authorities final calendar year who alleged his social media posts “paint parliament in a unfavorable gentle and breach impartiality rules” and a personal art exhibition themed all around Brexit that he mounted was of a “political nature which was breach of impartiality rules”.
At issue, Duffy suspects, was his determination to make sure however photographers doing work in the chamber in the Home of Commons had the exact same legal rights as Television set cameras.
Whilst he had “rolling permission” to release pics to the media, he mentioned things started “going south” after an argument around a photograph of Labour MP Tulip Siddiq who was forced to abandon a scheduled caesarian to vote in opposition to May’s Brexit deal.
“They stopped us releasing that image on the grounds she did not look nicely, but it was employed as a display screen grab from the Television set filming, so it didn’t make sense”.
Subsequently he located he was possessing common arguments around what the photographers could do and felt he was rubbing up in opposition to the massive energy of the institution.
Last summer he was off get the job done owing to worry-associated ailment and in September was sacked from his task although on depart. His letter of dismissal acknowledges that he had cited unwell depart for not attending disciplinary hearings.
Duffy also states that the police raid signifies the Home of Commons ended up however checking his social media.
“It is creepy. I have been subjected to outright harassment ever considering that final calendar year and it’s been exhausting,” he mentioned.
A Home of Commons spokesperson mentioned it could “not remark on unique HR matters”.
It additional:” The Home of Commons has in depth policies in position to safeguard both workers and professionals need to allegations of misconduct arise. We get the job done intently with the recognised trade unions on all disciplinary situations and make sure that any workers concerned are provided representation and have obtain to emotional guidance. Queries relating to alleged legal offences and police activity are a issue for the Metropolitan police.”
It mentioned parliament’s conduct code was “clear” in relation to MPs and workers and there was “zero tolerance for abuse or harassment” and these who have professional bullying need to submit a complaint as a result of the “independent issues and grievance plan. In addition, all existing and previous workers can obtain the employee assistance programme for emotional guidance.”