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Conservative MP Mark Field under investigation after video shows him grabbing a climate change protester by the neck and shoving her against a pillar

Business Insider | Jun 21, 2019, 01.55PM IST

Conservative MP Mark Field
  • Conservative MP and minister Mark Field is under investigation after forcefully grabbing a demonstrator by the neck and ejecting her when a climate change protest interrupted a black-tie dinner he was attending.
  • Video footage appears to show Field grabbing a protestor who was walking towards the stage, holding her by the neck, and shoving her against a column.
  • Field apologised "unreservedly" and referred himself for investigation but faces calls to resign from the Labour party.
  • The Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis said the party was investigating and said it was "very hard" to defend the footage.

LONDON - Conservative MP and Foreign Office minister Mark Field is under pressure to resign after video emerged of him grabbing a demonstrator by the neck and forcibly ejecting her when a climate change protest interrupted a black-tie dinner.

A group of female protesters on Thursday evening interrupted a speech by Chancellor Philip Hammond by using loudspeakers to shout during an annual banquet at London's Mansion House building.

According to footage obtained by ITV News, Field grabbed one of the women who was walking towards the stage and held her by the neck, shoving her against a column.

He is then seen marching her out of the room while maintaining a grip on her neck.

In a statement, Field apologised and said he had referred himself for an official government investigation into his conduct.

"I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologize to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I felt the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present," Field said in a statement to ITV.

"In view of the publicity around this incident I am referring myself to the Cabinet Office to examine whether there has been a breach of the ministerial code, and will of course cooperate fully with their investigation," he said.

Conservative Party chair Brandon Lewis also confirmed the party will investigate the incident.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Lewis said it was "very hard to defend" the footage, adding: "It's hard for anybody to look at that and not be astonished at what they have seen." 

He said the investigation would look into the "full details" of what happened.

City of London police, whose jurisdiction covers the Mansion House building, said they were investigating a "small number of third party reports" related to the incident.

They added: "These reports are being looked into."

Field's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Dawn Butler, the opposition Labour Party's spokesperson for women and equalities, said the MP should be immediately suspended or sacked, and said on Twitter the incident was "horrific."

Welsh Labour MP Tonia Atoniazzi, who sits on the women and equalities committee in parliament, called for Field to be arrested.

"Mark Field should resign and be arrested. I don't care in what order. No one who reacts like this to a peaceful protest should be sitting in our parliament," she tweeted.

Labour MP Jess Philips said: "She posed no credible threat from what I can see.

"There is very little else that could justify this and anyone can see that this could have been done without physical contact. Every MP has to deal with protest and conflict it is done with words. To watch this is so so awful."

Some Conservative MPs, including Sir Peter Bottomley, defended Field and said he had behaved reasonably.

"The woman clearly was trying to create a fuss. Most viewers would say it's good that she didn't succeed," he told BBC News.

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