Blogger sorry for 'idiotic' actions

The publisher of former spin doctor Damian McBride's memoirs has issued a public apology after accepting a caution for assaulting a protester during a live television interview.

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Iain Dale, political blogger and publisher, scuffling with protestor Stuart Holmes

The publisher of former spin doctor Damian McBride's memoirs has issued a public apology after accepting a caution for assaulting a protester during a live television interview.

Iain Dale, who scuffled with campaigner Stuart Holmes as he tried to move him out of shot, admitted his behaviour had been "frankly idiotic".

"I want to apologise and say sorry to Stuart Holmes, who is a passionate campaigner and well known to everyone who attends party conferences and was perfectly entitled to do as he did on Tuesday in trying to get attention for his causes.

"It was totally out of character for me to react to him in the way I did," Mr Dale said.

"I also want to apologise for the blog post I wrote after the incident. It was full of absurd bravado and in the heat of the moment I behaved in a frankly idiotic way."

Sussex Police said the 50-year-old, from Pembury, Kent, received a caution for common assault after voluntarily attending a police station.

The incident took place on Brighton seafront on Tuesday, the same day as Ed Miliband's keynote speech at the Labour Party conference.

Chief Superintendent Paul Morrison said: "We respect the rights of people to protest peacefully. We will investigate fairly any allegation, regardless of who is involved, and we will seek the most appropriate resolution."

Mr Dale, who represents Biteback Publishing, thanked officers for the "fair and courteous way they have dealt with me throughout".

He said he would be buying Mr Holmes a new placard and making a donation to a charity of his choice.

" I have embarrassed not only myself but my family and my work colleagues and I apologise to them," he said.

"I also want to apologise to Labour leader Ed Miliband and his conference attendees.

"I did apologise personally to Mr Holmes on Tuesday afternoon and we shook hands. He agreed to let the matter rest, but I have no complaint that he changed his mind on reflection.

"Since the events of Tuesday, I have gone through what happened over and over again in my mind. Whatever I felt at the time, nothing can justify what I did.

"In addition, having accepted my guilt, I feel I should make some sort of reparation to Mr Holmes. I will pay for a new placard for him and also make a donation to a charity of his choice."

He went on: "I will have to live with the justified criticisms for a long time.

"I know there will be many who will never forgive me for what I did and I understand that, but those who know me will know that I mean every word of my apology to Mr Holmes, Mr Miliband, the police, my family, friends and colleagues."