Since events in Bristol on Friday night during a Jacob Rees-Mogg appearance and the SKWAWKBOX’s revelation of the identity of the white-shirted Rees-Mogg supporter who initiated physical contact with protesters, rumours have been circulating that the man, Paul Townsley, was acting as Rees-Mogg’s bodyguard.
These rumours have centred around video showing Rees-Mogg being escorted by an employee of security firm Eyewitness Protection during a public appearance in Cheltenham – and a promotional photograph in the ‘close protection’ (i.e. bodyguard) section of the company’s website that bears a strong resemblance to Townsley:
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Eyewitness Protection for comment. ‘Craig’, speaking for the company, insisted that he had searched the company’s records and it does not have a Paul Townsley on its books. The image on the website – also used in the company’s brochure – is, he said, a purchased stock photograph. However, a Google image search returns no hits for other iterations of the image as might be expected of a commercial stock image.
Coincidentally, the Security Industry Authority does have a Paul Townsley licensed as a security operative. However, the SKWAWKBOX was able to track that registration to a completely different Paul Townsley who runs Sussex firm named Classic Security. The licence is for standard security-guard work, not for close protection. The company was eager to put on record that it has nothing to do with the Bristol Paul Townsley.
In a further twist, there is also a Paul Townsley in the north of England who bears a slight resemblance to the Bristol man. The northern Townsley, however, runs a company that helps people with addiction and housing problems. Where his Bristol counterpart is a Rees-Mogg fan, the northern Townsley has written warmly about Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the company website.
The question whether the Bristol man might have been at the Rees-Mogg event in a professional capacity is not fully settled, but the information above will hopefully be useful to those searching for more information in avoiding misunderstandings.
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