In pictures: From Blair to Brexit on College Green
Over several years, photographer Steve Forrest has documented the hustle and bustle of College Green, an area of grass outside the Houses of Parliament that regularly plays host to television interviews with politicians. From Blair to Brexit, he recalls how life on the green has changed over the years.
When I moved to London in the late 1990s, I used to wander over to College Green, across the road from the Houses of Parliament, and photograph the comings and going of the UK's leading politicians and broadcasters as they met for live interviews.
These wanderings turned into a photographic project looking at the relationship between the press and politicians during the Blair-Brown era.
During general elections, hung parliaments and leadership bids, emotions often ran high on College Green, with the public often getting involved.
There were the occasional small demonstrations and the inevitable heckler but generally they were good natured and rarely warranted police intervention.
I felt quite proud of our democratic traditions.
Here was a place in the heart of the capital where the media, politicians and the demos still mixed - a "Westminster bubble" maybe, but a penetrable one at that.
The press would set up tents in scenes reminiscent of medieval encampments - journalists, politicians and camera crews engaged with the art of verbal jousting from dawn to dusk.
Once the public and bewildered tourists were thrown into the mix, this area became live political theatre and I, for one, loved being in the thick of it.
Over time, some broadcasters began building higher structures above the public - tents became platforms that then became buildings.
I initially ended the project in 2010 before taking it up again after the 2016 EU referendum.
By then, College Green seemed an altogether different place.
As the Brexit negotiations dragged on, I sensed a very different atmosphere building.
Fewer politicians were seen on the green and those that were were quickly whisked upstairs behind black curtains for their interviews.
It also seemed that the public were now excluded from College Green altogether.
An area of inclusion had turned into an area of exclusion and the green felt like a place under siege.
Flags fought for space around the perimeter, together with increasingly vocal support for the differing positions on Brexit.
To me, the "Westminster bubble" seemed alive and well but more impenetrable to those left outside of it.
Words and photography by Steve Forrest