Two men have scaled the scaffolding at Westminster Abbey in a father’s day protest.
They’ve been identified by the splinter campaigning group New Fathers4Justice as Bobby Smith from Stevenage and James Dennis from Bishops Cleeve, Gloucestershire.
The group campaigns for the rights of fathers to see their children and said: ‘Father’s Day is an emotional time for fathers denied access to their children.’
The men unfurled three banners on top of scaffolding which stood against one side of the building.
One read ‘Parental Alienation.’
The other two read ‘Give me back Elmo’ and ‘Daddy’s not giving up on you Elmo x x x.’
Three uniformed police officers stood at the foot of the Abbey watching the protesters.
The National Police Air Service London helicopter patrolled above at one point.
1700: On scene Westminster Abbey @MPSWestminster to monitor a pair of protestors on the scaffolding.—
NPAS London (@NPASLondon) June 21, 2015
The stunt has generated publicity in the media and caught the attention of tourists visiting central London on the longest day of the year.
Mr Smith, who’s 33, stood against David Cameron in the constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire in the 2015 General Election having started his own party – Give Me Back Elmo.
He says he’s been denied access to his two daughters, and is campaigning for a change in the way family courts work.
Speaking from the top of the scaffolding, Mr Smith told the Press Association:
We chose Westminster Abbey because it’s such an iconic church. And because it’s Father’s Day – we haven’t just done this on the spur of the moment.
I stood against David Cameron in the general election. That was my last attempt to try and engage in political dialogue. He ignored me for the whole campaign. Fathers’ rights just aren’t on the political agenda.
The two men agreed to climb down off the Abbey after several hours.
Press Association (@PA) June 21, 2015