THE "disgusting yobs" who filmed themselves grabbing Chris Whitty "must be found and charged", the vaccines minister has said.
Nadhim Zahawi was speaking after England's chief medical officer was filmed being put in a headlock and pushed in London's St James Park.
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In the footage, the two yobs can be seen approaching the top medic – who has been heralded for his sensible approach to guiding the UK through the pandemic – before suddenly grabbing him around his shoulders in London.
The upsetting footage shows the professor's face turn red with the effort of trying to free himself from their clutches.
The yobs prompted a furious reaction from Zahawi who tweeted: "This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged. Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant."
Schools minister Nick Gibb was asked about the incident on the BBC's 'Today' programme and slammed it was "absolutely appalling".
"Chris Witty has done a fantastic job throughout the pandemic in advising the government of the necessary measures to keep our NHS safe, to save lives," he said.
"He has been a very effective Chief Medical Officer during that period and those scenes should not have happened.
"This is now a matter of police investigation and I hope the whole weight of the law will will come down on people who engage in that kind of behaviour."
He also called for improved security for the chief medical officer after previous incidents, including when he was harassed in February.
"That is a matter for the security services and for Chris Whitty but those scenes should never have occurred in our society, absolutely wrong.
"People whatever role they have in government should be able to walk on the street walk, through the park un-accosted by that kind of behaviour, it should not happen in a free law abiding society like ours."
The new Health Secretary Sajid Javid added his voice to the condemnation, branding the incident "appalling and totally unacceptable".
"The CMO works tirelessly on behalf of the country. We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour towards our public servants," he tweeted.
"The men behaving in this disgraceful way should be ashamed."
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Video shows the halfwits yelling 'oi-oi' while poking their tongues out at the camera.
Prof Whitty manages to briefly steer clear of their grasping hands, while they yell more unintelligible comments.
The Met Police last night confirmed it was aware of the footage and had launched a probe into the incident.
A spokesperson said: "Officers spoke to all those involved at the time and their details were taken. We are in contact with the victim and the circumstances continue to be investigated."
Piers Morgan tweeted that it was "disgusting" after the footage was shared online.
Other unimpressed Brits were quick to slam their actions – while writing their support for the Covid expert.
A concerned Owen Thomas urged: "My blood is boiling. Involve the police. Now."
Another man tweeted that the idiots' actions were "gross, he looks clearly uncomfortable", while one Brit said it was "shocking".
Mark Baxendale added: "What is wrong with people. He’s the only one who been constantly professional throughout. Poor bloke."
Zad tweeted: "It’s about time Whitty gets security, as what’s happening to him is unacceptable."
Sam Langley wrote: "Whether you agree with his decisions or not, he’s tried his hardest for this country for over 16 months."
And Mike asked: "How does this man not have a protection officer? This keeps happening."
It's not the first time that Prof Whitty has been harassed by annoying yobs in the street.
In February, the Covid expert was confronted by a teen who yelled at him in the street.
ITV star Lorraine Kelly wrote in The Sun about a "ghastly little toerag who harangued Chris Whitty".
She said in a scathing opinion piece: "This ignorant teen filmed himself repeatedly calling Professor Whitty 'a liar' in a pathetic attempt at being 'cool', complete with a laughable 'street' accent.
"The stoic medical expert, who has been working round the clock since this pandemic began, resolutely ignored the brainless twerp and patiently waited for him to run out of steam.
"I would not have been so forgiving and he would have felt the toe of my boot right up his backside.
"I’m fuming about the Prof being subjected to such an onslaught by this pathetic wee no-mark.
"His mother was also horrified, declaring that this was NOT the way she had brought up her son and NOT the sort of behaviour she expects from him.
"As well as ordering him to say sorry, she has taken away his PlayStation as 'that’s the thing he loves the most'."
Just last week The Sun wrote about the disgusting moment an antivaxxer hounded Prof Jonathan Van-Tam and accused him of 'genocide'.
Vile Geza Tarjanyi, 60, filmed himself hurling abuse at the Deputy Chief Medical Officer in Westminster.
Tarjanyi asked: "What was really in that needle you put into Matt Hancock?", referring to the ex-Health Secretary's vaccination in April.
Tarjanyi films Professor Van-Tam as he approaches him before saying: "Are you Van-Tam, aren't ya?"
He continued: "Why are you continually lying to the British people? Why are you smiling?
"This country's supposed to be in the worst pandemic of all time."
Professor Van-Tam then calmly replied: "It is."
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