The name “Dave” carved into stones in Peer’s Corridor and “sexually explicit graffiti” carved into a toilet door near the House of Commons bar are just some of the cases of vandalism that parliamentary authorities have faced in the last 12 months.
Cleanup was also required when eco-protesters made a mess of glue and ‘ketchup’ in the House of Commons.
The House of Commons and the Lords released records of reported security incidents and requests for maintenance that mention “vandalism” or “graffiti”, following a Freedom of Information request from the PA news agency.
From January this year to November 17, there were 13 security incident reports that listed these phrases, up from two in all of 2021 and six in 2020.
In contrast, 29 maintenance jobs were flagged over the same period, up from 20 in 2021 and 31 the year before.
Among this year’s security incidents was one recorded on November 12 as: “Protesters stick to objects in MPs lobby and squirt red substance (tomato ketchup?) in the area.”
The corresponding maintenance memo, dated November 13, states, “Would you please fix the green sofa in the HOC members lobby due to vandalism with glue. Please remove the defects of the sofa.”
This is likely related to the September 2 incident involving the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group.
On 5 September, the Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, told the House of Commons that XR environmental activists had “glued themselves together around the Speaker’s chair” after entering the estate as “paid tour ticket holders” during the incident.
The Marshal said at the time: “Steps are being taken to minimize the risk of a recurrence.”
Another security incident reported on August 18 of that year was “criminal damage in Peer’s Corridor”, adding “Someone scratched his name ‘Dave’ on a stone.”
However, most of the reported vandalism did not take place at the Palace of Westminster, instead involving the wider estate.
On October 19, a man was seen “spraying the north wall at the foot of Elizabeth Tower.”
And on September 7, it was claimed that Animal Rebellion protesters “sprayed white paint on the base of the wall and railings at Elizabeth Tower.”
On December 1, 2021, it was reported that someone had scrawled “sexually explicit graffiti” on the toilet door in the men’s room opposite Strangers’ Bar, in Parliament.
The note read: “Men’s restroom across from strangers bar, left stall (as you look at them). Someone carved sexually explicit graffiti on the box door.
“Because this is an area used by members of the public, there is a reputational risk. Can anything be done urgently to remove/sand down the offensive graffiti? Can we lock the cabin in the meantime?