CS GAS was used by police on a businessman who attended a House of Commons drinks party, Southwark Crown Court has heard.

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Ian Thomas, owner of Islington-based Sugar Media, had the controversial gas sprayed over his face after a bust-up with a police officer on 30 March 2009 following an event hosted by Tory MP Eric Pickles.

There is a dispute over what happened in the lead up to the row, but it seems Thomas was trying to leave the party, only to be informed that he would need to wait until an officer was ready to accompany him out of the building.

“He didn’t accept that he should have to wait and launched into a tirade of verbal abuse,” PC Christopher Leggett told the court.

“It was broadly directed at the fact that the bad state of the country was due to people like myself.”

Then there was some kind of Keystone Cops chase through the corridors of the Commons before the CS gas took effect.

Police say the gas was used after Thomas punched PC Christopher Leggett; Thomas says he lashed out only after being sprayed and denies the charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

CS Gas is toxic and though its effects are usually limited to tears and a burning throat, it can lead to severe nausea, permanent facial scarring, heart problems and death. Consequently, its use is usually limited to crisis situations, such as major street riots.

It is banned from use in war by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The trial continues.