A Greenpeace activist arrested after scaling Big Ben has been in trouble with police over several previous acts of trespass.

Harry Westaway, 26, of South Street, Lewes, caused a huge embarrassment after clearing a wall and security fence and scaling London's 315ft landmark on Saturday with his 24-year-old brother Simon.

He has defended the latest stunt, in protest over the war in Iraq, and accused the Government of exacerbating terrorism.

He said: "People say the police are embarrassed. But they shouldn't be.

"Personally I just hope people recognised we wanted to make a statement about the war and not about security.

"Blair should be embarrassed for misleading us, not the police."

Mr Westaway condemned the war on Iraq.

He said: "This war was about access to energy resources. The US needs bases in the Middle East, Saddam is a bad guy - and bingo.

"The war supporters ask why people like me opposed overthrowing a brutal regime.

"It is simple. For the same reasons Blair doesn't support going into Syria, Iran or North Korea.

"It makes the world a more dangerous place and exacerbates terrorism."

The industrial climber, who has been a member of Greenpeace for four years, was part of a team arrested after shutting down the SELCHP incinerator in south London for almost four days in 2002.

He was also one of 40 activists who occupied the Sizewell B nuclear plant in Suffolk last year.

Then he was among Greenpeace protesters who blocked a harbour gate in Iskenderun, Turkey, in March last year as a convoy of trucks carrying US military equipment was about to leave the port.

Art graduate Simon Westaway is a more recent recruit to the Greenpeace climbing team.

The brothers were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage when they ended their seven-hour protest but a spokesman for the campaign group said it had been "easy" for them to breach security.

They were released on bail later and must return to a police station in central London next month.

The pair's actions have prompted a series of calls for security improvements.

Junior defence minister Ivor Caplin, MP for Hove, said MPs would be concerned by security weaknesses highlighted by the stunt.

He said: "It may have some benefit if it exposed weaknesses in Westminster security but I don't think it's a very sensible way for a protest to be held.

"There are legitimate ways for protests to be held that don't involve breaches of security."

Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick announced an "automatic" review of security.

Glen Smythe, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation said Greenpeace should be condemned for the "extremely foolish" act.

Speaking on BBC1's Breakfast With Frost programme, Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain demanded an urgent report into the incident.