Politics

Tory MP who gave middle finger to Downing Street crowd says she is ‘only human’

Boris Johnson loyalist shouts 'wait and see' at protesters outside Downing Street
Tom Peck

The Conservative MP who was filmed giving the middle finger to a crowd outside Downing Street on Thursday has admitted she “should have shown more composure” but said she is “only human”.

Andrea Jenkyns, a Boris Johnson loyalist who was appointed an education minister a day later, made the gesture on her way into Downing Street to hear Mr Johnson’s resignation speech.

Exiting the street afterwards, Ms Jenkyns appeared to tell the crowd: “Those who laugh last, laugh loudest. Wait and see.”

Videos of the Morley and Outwood MP flipping the bird soon went viral online, and the leader of the House of Commons told BBC Breakfast he didn’t “seek to condone that at all”.

Mark Spencer said: “Andrea will have to … justify that for herself, but I do understand emotions were running pretty high and they were pretty raw on that day.

“But I don’t think that was the right thing to do at all.”

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Ms Jenkyns’ justification eventually came on Saturday afternoon, when she shared a statement to Twitter commenting on the incident.

She wrote: “A baying mob outside the gates [at Downing Street] were insulting MPs on their way in as is sadly all too common.

“After receiving huge amounts of abuse from some of the people who were there over the years, and I have also had seven death threats in the last four years. Two of which have been in recent weeks and are currently being investigated by the police, I had reached the end of my tether [sic].

“I responded and stood up for myself. Just why should anyone have to put up with this sort of treatment.

“I should have shown more composure but am only human.”

Except many Twitter users questioned whether it was actually an apology:

Some pointed out that it didn't exactly look like a "baying mob":

Others, meanwhile, expressed concern at the statement's grammar and the fact that Ms Jenkyns now has a ministerial responsibility relating to education:


The incident has also sparked comparisons to former deputy prime minister John Prescott, who punched a protester in one of the most infamous videos in British political history:

And then, of course, there is always a tweet:

We’ve got weeks – if not, months – more of this nonsense to come until the next leader is chosen, folks!

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