Sussex

Damian McBride publisher Iain Dale quizzed over Brighton scuffle

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Media captionIain Dale grapples with the anti-nuclear protester

The publisher of ex-Labour spin doctor Damian McBride has been questioned by police following a scuffle on Brighton seafront.

Iain Dale and anti-nuclear campaigner Stuart Holmes tussled as Mr Dale tried to get Mr Holmes's banner out of shot during a live television interview.

Mr Dale went to Brighton police station on Tuesday where he was questioned about a possible offence of assault.

Mr Holmes has also been interviewed on suspicion of common assault.

The Labour Party is currently in Brighton for its annual conference.

The confrontation was filmed by members of the media covering the arrival of Mr McBride, who was being interviewed by ITV's Daybreak programme when it broke out.

'Bitten on the bum'

Mr Dale, of Biteback Publishers, who is due to return to Brighton police station on Thursday, wrote on his blog: "In some ways I have committed the cardinal sin of becoming the story myself, rather than my author.

"Anyone who has seen the pictures and video can see that there was no real violence," said Mr Dale, who is better known as a political blogger.

"I certainly didn't hurt the guy. He threw a punch at me but missed, and the only injury was when the man's dog bit him on the bum."

The men separated and dusted themselves down before Mr Holmes, a familiar face to conference-goers for 30 years, again tried to edge his way into view of the cameras.

Mr Holmes said that when he spotted the cameras, he had assumed they were for party leader Ed Miliband, whom he was keen to confront.

He said Mr McBride had seen his placard and appeared "happy with it".

"I was not ruining the interview, I was just in the background. I was not saying anything.

"Then this giant of a guy turned up and grabbed hold of me. I struggled free and in the process we ended up on the floor."

He said he would be talking to his lawyers next month but was unlikely to take the matter further.

Sussex Police said Mr Dale had been questioned about his version of events.

Det Sgt Stephen French said: "A man was exercising his right to protest in a public place when this incident took place.

"A man has been interviewed in relation to an offence of common assault and is due to attend Brighton police station again on Thursday."

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