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Iain Dale Given Police Caution For Scuffle
Blogger and publisher Iain Dale has issued a grovelling public apology after accepting a police caution for fighting with a protester.
Mr Dale admitted the scuffle was "frankly idiotic" and that he had embarrassed himself, and also said sorry for his "absurd bravado" after the altercation.
The 50-year-old, who was initially questioned on Tuesday night, was cautioned after returning to Brighton Police Station and admitting common assault.
He fought with veteran protester Stuart Holmes on the seafront after trying to stop any disruption to TV interviews being given by his client Damian McBride.
Mr Dale spotted the pensioner nearby as Gordon Brown's ex-spin doctor spoke to ITV about his controversial memoir and rushed over to haul him away.
The pair ended up tussling on the ground as Mr Holmes' dog barked around them, causing a stir outside the Labour Party conference venue close by.
Hours later, Mr Dale insisted he did not regret the encounter, joking that he should not have had Weetabix for breakfast and calling Mr Holmes an "idiot".
But on Thursday, he struck a far more sombre tone as he admitted Mr Holmes was a "passionate campaigner" and had been "perfectly entitled" to be there.
"It was totally out of character for me to react to him in the way that I did," he said.
"I also want to apologise for the blogpost 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.
"I have embarrassed not only myself but my family and my work colleagues and I apologise to them."
The statement added: "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."
Mr Dale, from Pembury in Kent, even suggested some "will never forgive me for what I did and I understand that".
He said he had apologised to Mr Holmes in person on Tuesday but also apologised to Labour leader Ed Miliband and those attending the conference.
The publisher has vowed to pay for a new placard for the protester and to make a donation to a charity of his choice.
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 thanked police for their "fair and courteous" treatment.
Mr Holmes, who is originally from Manchester, previously described how "this giant of a guy turned up and grabbed hold of me" as he stood quietly in the background of the interview.