Fathers 4 Justice are back - founder

THE Suffolk founder of Fathers 4 Justice last night hailed a “dramatic return” of the group's famed and controversial protests - after activists stormed Saturday night's live National Lottery programme.

THE Suffolk founder of Fathers 4 Justice last night hailed a “dramatic return” of the group's famed and controversial protests - after activists stormed Saturday night's live National Lottery programme.

Protestors invaded the studio and chanted slogans as shocked presenter Eamonn Holmes was ushered off the set of the popular BBC1 show National Lottery Jet Set.

The activists included the partner of F4J founder Matt O'Connor, who said the demonstration marked the return of the group - five months after it broke up when an extremist fringe was accused of plotting to kidnap Tony Blair's son Leo.

Now they have warned future protests would be carried out at high profile events and live television to raise public awareness.

Mr O'Connor, who lives in Cavendish, near Sudbury, said he was only acting as a “media advisor” to the group, but gave them his full support.

“Since we disbanded the group there has been a vacuum created and none of the other splinter groups has been able to fill that void,” he said.

Most Read

“There is still a huge, huge problem and people wanted Fathers 4 Justice to carry on. I thought there were enough people out there and enough talent to carry on.

“I think we will see more subversion of live TV events. I know they have got quite a few things planned in the next few weeks.”

The Lottery show was briefly interrupted when protestors leapt from a bewildered studio audience, chanting slogans and wearing “Next Time It Could Be You” t-shirts, before security guards wrestled them away.

Mr Holmes was led from the stage, later saying the protestors had been “well orchestrated”.

He added: “About six protesters ran out of the audience, very well positioned, very well orchestrated, they knew exactly the positions to be in and they tried to, well, I think, destroy the lottery machines.

“Fathers 4 Justice was the campaign and I think for the audience a very scary moment, whatever empathy or sympathy many people may have with Fathers 4 Justice.

“You've a lot of very shaken, disturbed people, both watching at home and in the studio.”

Fathers 4 Justice said all six protesters had been ejected from the studio but none was arrested and a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said inquiries into the incident were continuing.

The stunt marked the second anniversary of the group's powder bomb attack on the Prime Minister in the House of Commons - and the group last night confirmed it was re-launching after a five-month cessation in its campaign.

Group spokesman Guy Harrison said: “The lottery is a metaphor for what can happen to any parent, mother or father, and their children.

“It's our duty to warn parents about what is happening and send them this message - don't play family law lotto, don't gamble with your kids.”

Always on the fringes of controversy, Mr O'Connor said he had no choice but to shut down operations of F4J when fringe members were accused of plotting Mr Blair's son earlier this year.

But it is now believed he is considering delaying the launch of his new civil liberties group, Agents for Change, to help the re-launch of the group.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter