John Penrose MP...
PUBLISHED: 11:15 04 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:17 24 May 2010
I've never been to Downing Street before, so taking a petition from the national anti-bullying conference in Weston to Tony Blair's front door was a first
I've never been to Downing Street before, so taking a petition from the national anti-bullying conference in Weston to Tony Blair's front door was a first.But like so much in Westminster, there are all sorts of funny rules. Only six people are allowed into Downing Street to present a petition, for example. Which was a problem because there were nine of us. Fortunately the policeman on the gate was an expert in creative accounting.'Don't worry Sir,' he said. 'You're an MP so you don't count.' Nothing new there then, I thought. 'And we'll pretend your researcher is the official photographer, so he's excluded from the six official representatives too. That still leaves you with one too many, but if one of you is willing to stand in the press compound I daresay no-one will complain.' So we all got in. But our petition was a large banner, and you aren't allowed to unfurl a banner in Downing Street. So we had our pictures taken with the banner out in the road, and then solemnly had to wrap it up before we went inside.We knocked thunderously on the door, which was opened by an extremely posh butler. He was clearly used to dealing with petitions, because he was completely unfazed by eight people in bright green 'Empower Yourself' T-shirts standing on the doorstep of number 10. We introduced ourselves and told him what the petition was. He was expecting us, of course, and promised to make sure the Prime Minister saw the petition. And in spite of all the funny rules, we felt good afterwards. Bullying is a problem that's got to be stopped. It happens to all sorts of people, and too often gets ignored. Maybe, just maybe, thundering on the door of number 10 Downing Street will make a difference.