England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty harassed by two men in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemns 'despicable' behaviour in viral video

Prof Whitty (R) struggles to free himself as he attempts to walk away from two men, who then follow him. Twitter/EPA
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned two men who were recorded harassing England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty.

In the video, which has gone viral on social media, the two men are laughing and jeering as they grab hold of Prof Whitty in St James’s Park in central London.

Prof Whitty struggles to free himself as he attempts to walk away from the pair, who then follow him.

A voice can be heard in the video telling the men to "leave this gentleman alone".

The Metropolitan Police said officers spoke to the two men as part of an investigation.

Mr Johnson said he was "shocked at seeing the despicable harassment" of Prof Whitty.

"I condemn the behaviour of these thugs," he said.

"Our hard-working public servants should not have to face this kind of intimidation on our streets and we will not tolerate it."

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was "appalling" to see Prof Whitty being treated in such a way.

“I’ve seen the video of the CMO [chief medical officer] being harassed. It’s appalling and totally unacceptable. The CMO works tirelessly on behalf of the country,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We will not tolerate this sort of behaviour towards our public servants. The men behaving in this disgraceful way should be ashamed.”

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi called for the men face charges.

“This is disgusting and these thugs must be found and charged,” he said.

“Zero tolerance for harassing a public servant.”

Schools Minister Nick Gibb told Sky News on Tuesday he hoped the "whole weight of the law will come down on people that engage in that kind of behaviour".

"I think this thing is absolutely appalling and I'm sure all your viewers and the general public will absolutely condemn the behaviour of these yobs," he said.

It is not the first time Prof Whitty has been filmed being confronted by a member of the public.

This month, a man in Oxford accused him of lying to the public about the coronavirus and in February, a man accosted Prof Whitty outside Westminster.

Last Tuesday, England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam was confronted by an anti-vaccine protester outside the Ministry of Defence.

That incident came a week after BBC journalist Nicholas Watt was chased and shouted at by anti-lockdown protesters near Downing Street on June 14.