29/09/2005

Blair apologises to elderly heckler

Prime Minister Tony Blair has apologised to an 82-year-old Labour activist who was thrown out of the party’s conference for heckling.

Walter Wolfgang, a Labour party member for 57 years, was forcibly ejected from the Brighton conference for shouting during Mr Straw’s speech on Iraq policy.

Another party member, Steve Forrest, was also removed from the conference after complaining about the actions of the stewards.

Mr Blair said he was “really, really sorry” about the incident and said that it “should not have happened”. He said that the situation was “difficult” because the conference stewards were volunteers and he said that training methods would have to be examined.

Mr Wolfgang, who came to Britain to escape the Nazi regime in Germany, shouted “nonsense” after Mr Straw compared the current situation in Iraq to Germany at the end of the Second World War, during Tuesday’s speech.

After he was removed from the conference, he was briefly detained by police under the Terrorism Act to prevent him re-entering the conference.

Mr Wolfgang has been allowed to be return to the conference for the final day on Thursday, on the condition that he does not cause any further disturbances.

(KMcA/SP)

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