This is the moment a female Octopus Energy executive stunned a Tory fringe event by claiming she was ‘violently assaulted’ at a hotel bar on Sunday night at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.
During a ConservativeHome event yesterday, Clementine Cowton told an audience she was attacked by a man in the Midland hotel and urged society and police to take the safety of women ‘much more seriously’.
The 33-year-old director of external affairs at Octopus Energy Group said the culprit was drunk, in his mid-30s, white and bald, and had ‘invaded’ her space and refused to leave despite her asking repeatedly.
Miss Cowton claimed he tried to punch her but was restrained by bystanders, and that she reported the incident to police. A Tory spokesman said the man, whose identity is unknown, had been kicked out of the conference.
In a livestream video on YouTube, the Durham University politics graduate told the audience: ‘I’m really sorry, I’d also like to take this opportunity while I’ve got an audience to just mention that last night I was violently assaulted in the conference zone by a man in the Midlands Bar.
‘So sorry to dump this on everybody, it’s a bit of a surprise but I do just want to take the opportunity to say women are often unsafe in places where other people feel safe, and it’s really important that we start to take that seriously as a society, and starting with the police.’
She added: ‘I’m fine by the way, don’t worry.’
A Conservative Party spokesman told MailOnline: ‘This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the Party has revoked the pass of the individual concerned and is working with the police.’
The shocking revelation comes amid questions over the safety of women following the rape and murder of Sarah Everard at the hands of a serving police officer and the killing of Sabina Nessa as she walked to a bar.
It also follows a torrent of negative press coming out of the Conservative Party Conference, with Sir Iain Duncan Smith saying he was assaulted on his way to the Mercure hotel while Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg was confronted by a man with cerebral palsy over benefit tests.
During a ConservativeHome event yesterday, Clementine Cowton told an audience she was attacked by a man the Midland hotel on Sunday night and urged society and police to take the safety of women ‘much more seriously’
Miss Cowton is pictured at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester yesterday
During a ConservativeHome event yesterday, Miss Cowton told an audience how she was attacked at the Midland hotel on Sunday night
Energy Minister Greg Hands said it was a ‘shocking account’ and ‘we all stand with you’, adding: ‘If there’s anything that can be done to assist the investigation, then I think we would all in this whole conference wish to assist in that.
‘But thank you for telling us about it and… giving us a real example of such a big challenge that this country as a whole is facing.’
A police spokesman said: ‘Police responded to an incident at the Midland hotel at around 12:30am this morning (Monday 4 October) to reports of an assault on a 33-year-old woman.
‘Officers arrived quickly, there were no reports of any injures, and no arrests were made, however a man has been identified, had his accreditation removed for the remainder of the Conservative Party Conference.
Miss Cowton says she called the police after she was ‘violently assaulted’ at a hotel bar at the Tory Party conference in Manchester on Sunday night
‘Our investigation into what happened is ongoing. GMP is here to protect. Women’s safety is a top priority, and something we continue to take incredibly seriously.
‘If you see or hear anything that doesn’t seem quite right, don’t hesitate to get in touch with police, which you can do via LiveChat on our website www.gmp.police.uk, or call 101, or 999 in an emergency.’
MailOnline has contacted the Midland hotel for comment.
Miss Cowton went to the Henrietta Barnett Grammar School in Hampstead Garden Suburb in London. She later studied politics at Hatfield College, Durham, before joining PR giant Edelman as a public affairs intern, assistant account executive, then account executive.
She stayed with the firm for over two years before moving to Newington Communications as a senior account manager then account director. She stayed there for nearly three years before leaving for Octopus Energy Group, where she has been for four years.
Miss Cowton describes herself on Twitter as: ‘Feminist, environmentalist, energy geek.’
Meanwhile Sir Iain revealed he was assaulted by a group of men as he headed to the Mercure hotel.
He was joined there by Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost but left halfway through to report the attack to police.
Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith (pictured yesterday) said he was assaulted by a group of men on his way to the Mercure hotel
Elsewhere Mr Rees-Mogg was confronted by a man with cerebral palsy who spoke to him about cuts and fitness to work tests (pictured)
The former party leader told the Spectator that one of the men allegedly threw a traffic cone at his head.
‘For half a second I was about to go up and punch them, I went forward and they all backed off – I nearly knocked them out, lost my rag,’ he told the magazine.
‘I can’t tell you very much other than they just followed us, used abusive language, attacked us and used a cone. I have to say I would have very nearly been done for assault myself, I turned after them and they sort of backed off and I dropped the cone.’
A police spokesman said: ‘Officers were on the scene within minutes. There aren’t believed to be any serious injuries, and following a short foot pursuit three men and two women have been arrested in connection with it, and remain in custody for questioning. Enquiries are ongoing.’
Elsewhere Mr Rees-Mogg was confronted by a man with cerebral palsy who spoke to him about cuts and fitness to work tests.
Dominic Hutchins, 43, from Stockport, Manchester, told the Leader of the House of Commons about his experience of the checks outside the Midland Hotel.
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: ‘I strongly advise you to speak to your MP.’
Mr Hutchins later told the Mirror: ‘He heard me but it’s all lip service. A lot of people with disabilities can’t do this, their voices aren’t heard so I tried to go out to make the point. If I don’t do it, the people like me who have cerebral palsy will never be heard.’
Annual conferences thrown by the main political parties are infamously alcohol-fuelled occasions attended by thousands of members, lobbyists, politicians and journalists.
They are littered with pop up bars, watering holes and catered events – at many of which the wine flows freely from lunchtime.