Brexit heckler removed from reception

A freelance journalist working for the Daily Mail was asked to leave a festive season reception at the Irish Embassy after heckling the Ambassador, Adrian O’Neill over Brexit.

The Ambassador had started his speech at the Irish Embassy’s Press and Politics reception with a joke about a ‘Rolling Stones Brexit’, by suggesting Britain’s withdrawal from the EU could be compared to various Stones’ hits, such as Can’t Get No Satisfaction, You Can’t Always Get What You Want and Like A Rolling Stone (when you’re on your own, a complete unknown).

However when the Ambassador tried to make a serious point about the impact of a hard border on Northern Ireland, Joanna Bell, who describes herself as a “staunch Brexiteer, despite voting remain”, interrupted his speech, shouting “Bo-ring” and “Brexit” after which she was escorted from the building.

The journalist later apologised to the Ambassador for the “excessive robustness and perhaps lack of finesse with which I expressed my disagreement with the Ambassador” which she blamed on having a “good lunch with a staunch Brexiteer”.

The Irish reception is renowned for being a lively event and a highlight of the Westminster social calendar. This year it was attended by Chancellor Philip Hammond and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, as well as members of the press corps.