Mark Field offers “unreserved” apology as Conservative Party announce a full investigation
21 June 2019 | UK NEWS
Video footage has emerged of Mark Field who is a Minister in Jeremy Hunt’s Foreign Office being physically forceful to a climate change protester at the dinner of Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s speech in Central London. Mr Hammond had to pause his speech whilst protesters from climate change group Greenpeace stormed the room.
The video appears to show the protester who is wearing orange walk up to a pillar near a table of people, and Mark Field who is sitting in close proximity to the pillar jumps up and pushes the woman into the pillar. Field then proceeds to drag her out and in the last few moments of the footage, his hand appears around her neck with his face looking visibly angry.
The protester, named Janet Barker, has decided not to press charges on Mr Field.
Mark Field has this morning apologised in a statement, shared by ITV, and referred himself to the Cabinet Office for investigation, saying he felt threatened. FULL STATEMENT:
Conservative Party Chairman, Brandon Lewis MP this morning reacted: “When you look at that video it’s very hard not to be astonished by what you’ve seen” and has confirmed that the Conservative Party itself would launch an investigation.
City of London Police were called to the event. A spokesman said: “We were alerted at 9.03pm. We were called by security at Mansion House who let us know there were a group of protesters who had gained entry and were refusing to leave. Officers arrived to help with their ejection. Once in the presence of the police, the protesters were co-operative and left the premises. No arrests were made.”
Field has been accused of ‘assault’ by the protester and in a statement, Greenpeace have said they are “shocked”.
Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Women & Equalities Dawn Brent MP has condemned the behaviour and called for Field to be “immediately suspended or sacked”
In contrast, Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley told the Press Association that Mr Field had done nothing wrong last night. “The woman clearly was trying to create a fuss. Most viewers would say it’s good that she didn’t succeed.”
When asked if Mr Field had been heavy-handed with the protester, Sir Peter responded: “No, he reversed her direction and she looked as though she went willingly. Peter Bottomley finished by saying “I think there’s no reason to criticise Mark Field… Of course it wasn’t an assault, it was a reversal of direction.”
ITV Political Correspondent Paul Brand, who shared the footage, says the Conservative Party Whips Office is looking into the incident and taking it very seriously.
Last month Mark condemned violence against women in a passionate House of Commons speech.
The UK remains committed to helping women all over the world to feel safe and protected in the work they do, so they can speak freely and be part of the change we all want. My remarks at the Westminster Hall Debate on Women Human Rights Defenders. https://t.co/fmQMtXSTgV— Mark Field MP (@MarkFieldUK) May 9, 2019
News Editor at Wolves of Westminster, Hugo Sugg, comments on the optics of Jeremy Hunt’s reaction when it occurs: “This is truly shocking for any MP. In his first test as not only being Mark’s boss as Foreign Secretary but as first major action as candidate for being PM, Jeremy Hunt’s reaction/actions will be closely scrutinised by everyone. This could trigger Mark’s resignation as a Foreign Office Minister.”