Rupert Murdoch’s cream pie-wielding assailant in parliament yesterday, revealed as Jonnie Marbles, a stand-up comedian and activist, has been charged.

Marbles, formally identified as Jonathan May-Bowles dramatically lurched at Rupert Murdoch during his appearance at the Commons Select Committee and tried to throw a plate of white foam into Murdoch’s face at close range.

Rupert Murdoch's wife, Wendi Deng, leaped up to defend her husband and appeared to hit out at May-Bowles with an open hand as security guards and police rushed across the room to apprehend him. The attack prompted gasps in the audience and the temporary adjournment of proceedings.

Wendi Deng, Rupert Murdoch's wife, attacks pie-thrower Jonnie Marbles

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Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, of Edinburgh Gardens, Windsor, was bailed to appear before City of Westminster Magistrates Court next Friday, July 29.

He is charged with behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress in a public place under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, Scotland Yard said

Immediately after the incident, May-Bowles was identified by friends in the UK Uncut network of activists. Although the protest group quickly distanced themselves him, he is known to have been part of the close-knit group that founded it, and a key figure in their campaign.

"This was a lone-wolf, solitary action," said a key organiser in UK Uncut, a tax-avoidance campaigner group. "None of us knew anything about this. This has got nothing to do with UK Uncut."

After almost two and a half hours into the Committee, some of the young members of the public who had queued for admittance were flagging. At the back of the room, May-Bowles rose, apparently to leave. As he passed by Rupert Murdoch, he pulled a shaving foam pie from a plastic bag, striking Murdoch in the head.

James Murdoch, sitting next to his father, was visibly angry. Rupert Murdoch said little.

Remarkably, Jonnie Marbles appears to have live-tweeted his Murdoch assault on Murdoch. "I'm actually in this committee," he tweeted at 15.01pm, around 30 minutes into the hearing of the department of culture, media and sport committee.

At 16.51pm, seconds before the attack, he tweeted: "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat."

While Marbles took to Twitter to trumpet his impending actions, a huge backlash also stirred on the site after the incident.

The attack had the reverse effect, said Billy Bragg, singer-songwriter and activist.

He tweeted: “On the worse day in News Corp history Jonnie Marbles has given The Sun and Fox News the chance to make Rupert Murdoch look like the victim”

May-Bowles is a seasoned left-wing campaigner, though his activist credentials are diminished somewhat by his middle class background.

Born and brought up in Windsor in a £350,000 house, his family home is just a short stroll from Windsor Castle.

His father David Marshall Bowles – who at 81 is a year older than Mr Murdoch – is a retired company director, who was involved in a number of businesses supplying educational services and materials.

Mr Bowles married Janet May in 1984, and the couple joined their surnames to give their two children a double-barrelled name.

His sister Helen is a climate change campaigner who has been involved in a number of high profile protests.

Keen on politics from a young age, May-Bowles, was educated locally in Windsor. When he was 17-years-old he fathered a child.

Despite the responsibilities of fatherhood he won a place at Royal Holloway, University of London to study politics and international relations and started his degree in 2005.

Before beginning his course however he married his girlfriend and commuted to college each day from Windsor, where they shared a home.

In a YouTube video he posted of himself last May, May-Bowles talks about why he was going to boycott the general election in his Windsor constituency.

An activist friend said May-Bowles was arrested at a BHS department store for blowing a whistle during a UK Uncut event in December 2010.

He also runs a blog called 'Anarchish' which has as a strap line: "Because the state's not gonna smash itself."

May-Bowles and his wife eventually split up, and after graduating in 2008, he began to work on the stand-up comedy circuit performing gigs at a number of small venues in the London area.

Some friends and associates said they were not surprised he had targeted the media mogul in the midst of one of the most high-profile parliamentary appearances in decades.

A university friend who asked not to be identified told the Guardian: "He is affable, but very politically minded. He has been a stand-up comedian for some time, which would explain the custard pie incident with Rupert Murdoch, if that is what it was."

He recalled a time when Marbles complained about Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp CEO's influence. "I remember one time he talked about Murdoch. He said it was a terrible thing for democracy that one man should hold so much sway."

He added: "Jonnie is such a devoted activist. I was shocked initially but then I thought: 'That's John.' It was typical but surprising."

Marbles’ university friend said he was at the UK Uncut occupation at Fortnum and Mason in March, and believed that Jonnie accessed the building.

Another UK Uncut activist said: "He's very committed politically. I know him from working on a variety of different political causes. He was angry about the whole Murdoch thing, how we've got a very powerful elite in this country.

"He works on a lot of different causes. He's got a lot of time for people and he is sort of well respected and liked. He's not a lone figure – he's well known."

He added: "I'm amazed he got in there. He seems to have timed it just as the committee was becoming quite a cosy affair … Johnny would have timed it. But I had no idea it was going to happen and I was shocked."

May-Bowles recently posted a series of comments on his blog attacking the Murdoch empire, describing it as a “nest of vipers”.

Marbles is involved in a political comedy in Camden, north London, called Lolitics.

Watch Jonnie Marbles' pie attack on Rupert Murdoch here: