Man charged with assault after Iain Duncan Smith was ‘hit with traffic cone’ in Manchester last year

The incident happened while the ex-Tory Leader was walking to a fringe event at the 2021 Conservative Party Conference.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 28th April 2022

A man has been charged with assaulting the former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith in Manchester last year.

Elliot Bovill, 31, appeared in Manchester Magistrates’ Court, where he was accused of common assault against the senior Tory MP in the city centre on 4 October 2021, although it was confirmed that no further details of the offence were read out during the hearing, and Mr Bovill did not enter a plea.

The incident occurred while the Conservative Party Conference was happening in Manchester city centre, and was said to have happened while Sir Iain was walking to a fringe event with his wife, Betsy.

Sir Iain was due to take part in a talk with then-Brexit minister, Lord David Frost, at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel.

Read more: Five arrested after former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith allegedly ‘hit with traffic cone’ in Manchester


At the time of the incident, the former Tory party leader told The Spectator that he had been struck on the back of the head “with a traffic cone”, and he also told the BBC that protestors shouted “Tory scum” at him while he made his way to the fringe event – but he managed to escape from the situation without any serious injury.

Sir Ian Duncan Smith in the House of Commons.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith served as the Leader of the Conservative Party from 2001 – 2003 / Credit: Sky News / Parliament TV

He told The Spectator: “For half a second I was about to go up and punch them, I went forward and they all backed off – I nearly knocked them out, lost my rag”.


Sir Iain also told the BBC at the time: “They then decided to follow me and started shouting abuse, such as ‘Tory scum’ and any other reason they could think of. I carried on walking and when I was getting close to the place [where I had a meeting], someone came up with one of those rather heavy traffic cones and tried to smack me with it in the back of the head.”

Greater Manchester Police arrested five people following the incident.

Read more: Thousands protest as Conservative Party Conference kicks off in Manchester


During the hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, Mr Bovill was told that the case was being moved to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, and was granted unconditional bail to appear again on 16 May.

Two other people have also been charged in connection with the incident.

Radical Haslam, 28, of New Wakefield Street, Manchester, and Ruth Wood, 50, of Oak Tree Avenue, Cambridge, are accused of using threatening, abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence.

Mr Haslam did not attend court, but Ms Wood appeared by video link and was also bailed until 16 May.

Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons