UK Politics

MPs plotted to knock over cameraman, says documentary maker

Michael Cockerell in the House of Commons
Image caption The first part of Michael Cockerell's documentary is broadcast next week

MPs plotted to knock over a BBC cameraman in the House of Commons - in the hope of stopping a new documentary on Westminster life, a film-maker says.

Michael Cockerell told reporters about the plan at a press screening of his new series Inside the Commons.

"I'm not fingering anyone by name," Mr Cockerell said, when asked who was involved in the plot.

But he did say they were "right wing Tories... what Downing Street know as the berserkers, the naughty bench".

He declined to name the cameraman who was the subject of the apparent skulduggery.

'Cunning plans'

In the first episode of the four-part series, to be shown on Tuesday, the Conservative MP Bill Wiggin is seen complaining to the Speaker during a session in the Commons about the presence of camera crews in the chamber itself.

Michael Cockerell said Mr Wiggin was not involved in the plot.

"We heard of a plan to knock over the cameraman and cause the House to be suspended, and then they would blame it on us and suggest we shouldn't be there," he said, adding that Parliamentary staff had let them know about the plot and had managed to prevent it from happening.

He said there were "very few" opponents to the documentary, but "in Parliament every day there are cunning plans, it is a place made for plotting and conspiracy".

The documentary was filmed over the course of a year - after six years of attempting to persuade the parliamentary authorities to allow them the access they required.

Atlantic Productions, the producers of the series for the BBC, gathered 600 hours of raw material for the four hours that will be broadcast throughout February.

The first episode is broadcast on Tuesday on BBC Two at 21:00 GMT.

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