CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'PROTEST NUMBERS'

Sunday Telegraph – 13 January 2019

Your revelation that the march demanding a second Brexit referendum was attended by just a third of the number its organisers claimed (report, January 6) reminds me of the bogus totals claimed by anti-nuclear activists in the Eighties.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament demonstrations against Britain’s Trident deterrent and NATO’s cruise missiles were shown by photogrammetry (scientific aerial surveys) to have been only a quarter of the 400,000 claimed in October 1983, and only a third of the 100,000 claimed in October 1985, after efforts to stop cruise had manifestly failed.

It is disturbing to learn that police estimates of attendance are no longer conducted. They were, in the past, a valuable corrective to hugely exaggerated claims by protest organisers. It should not have been necessary for the Sunday Telegraph to submit a Freedom of Information request to unearth the truth months after the event. Who told the police to cease providing prompt official estimates?

Dr JULIAN LEWIS MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA