Minister condemns ‘mob rule’ after jury acquits ‘Colston four’ — Analysis

Grant Shapps said the protesters who toppled slave trader Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol should have done it ‘through the ballot box’

UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps has reacted angrily to a Bristol jury’s ruling, as four people were cleared of causing criminal damage after toppling a listed statue of Edward Colston during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests.

On Thursday, the Transport Minister Grant Shapps spoke out to LBC Radio about his fury at four jurors clearing him of liability following a Bristol Crown Court trial. 

The so-called ‘Colston Four’ were charged with causing criminal damage after they toppled the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol during Black Lives Matter protests which spread to the UK in June 2020.

“We must live in a society where people can’t go around destroying public property and be able to walk away from it,”Shapps spoke to Nick Ferrari, the presenter.

Minister said the government would introduce new measures in order to plug any gaps in the legal system.

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He said that if someone wants to take down a statue or change something that’s in the public realm, “that’s absolutely legitimate.” 

“But that is done through the ballot box, that is done through petitioning your local councilor. Get yourself elected, do it the right way; we can’t have mob rule as the way forward,”He added.  

Wednesday’s verdict has caused controversy, with some praising the jurors for standing up for a legitimate cause, and others slamming them for failing to uphold the rule of law. 

A large crowd of supporters waited in the courts and cheered the decision. One of those acquitted sat down in front the assembled media and celebrated.

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