Boris Johnson condemns 'thugs' who harassed Chris Whitty in London park
Boris Johnson has condemned the "thugs" who harassed Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty and got him in a headlock in a London park.
Police are investigating an incident recorded on a mobile phone which shows at least two men grab Professor Whitty, with one putting him in a headlock.
The footage, which emerged on Monday, also shows the professor attempting to get away from the men in St James's Park in Westminster, but they held onto him again as he tried to cross a road.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter on Tuesday: "I’m shocked at seeing the despicable harassment of Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.
"I condemn the behaviour of these thugs. Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it."
In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: "We are aware of a video being shared online showing an incident that took place in St James’ Park at around 7.20pm on the evening of Sunday, 27 June.
"Officers were in the vicinity policing a nearby demonstration and intervened when they saw what was happening.
"They spoke to the victim and checked his welfare. He had not suffered any injuries and informed officers that at that time he did not wish to make any allegations. He then went on his way. "Officers continued to speak to the two men and recorded their details. They were robustly warned about their behaviour and ordered to leave the area. "Police remain in contact with the alleged victim. The incident has been recorded as a common assault and continues to be investigated by the Met's Public Order crime team."
The video, which appeared on Twitter, has been condemned by several politicians and cabinet members.
Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, tweeted: "This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged.
"Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant."
Eventually in the video, a voice can be heard saying "leave him alone".
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also condemned the actions of the men.
This is the second time social media footage has emerged of Professor Whitty being harassed in public, in which he was called a liar by a TikTok user.