June 21, 2019
Police investigate reports of assault as video shows Field forcefully removing woman

Mark Field has been suspended as a Foreign Office minister after a video showed him pushing a female Greenpeace activist against a pillar and grabbing her neck while she protested at the chancellor’s Mansion House speech.
Police are investigating third-party reports of assault made against Field, who has since apologised to the protester. The MP for the Cities of London and Westminster said he felt threatened when the protester walked past him and was worried she might have been armed.
Downing Street said Theresa May had viewed the footage and decided to suspend Field. He had referred himself to the Cabinet Office and the Conservative party, which were both investigating.
Labour has challenged the Conservatives to suspend Field from the party and the whip pending the outcome of the investigation into his behaviour.
The prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “She found it very concerning. The police have said they are looking into reports over this matter.
“He will be suspended as a minister while this investigation takes place. Mansion House are looking into the breach of security that took place and we believe it is right they are now reviewing their security arrangements.”
May is understood to have spoken to her chief whip, Julian Smith, after viewing the footage, and Smith told Field he had been suspended mid-morning on Friday.
Asked whether Conservative MPs including Peter Bottomley and Johnny Mercer should have been defending Field in the media while he was being investigated, the spokeswoman repeated that the prime minister had found the footage to be a cause for concern.
Field was a minister in Jeremy Hunt’s team at the Foreign Office and was supporting him in the Tory leadership contest. Hunt told the BBC: “Mark has issued a full and unreserved apology. He recognises that what happened was an over-reaction.”
Philip Hammond was preparing to deliver his set-piece address in the City of London, when dozens of Greenpeace activists interupted him to deliver an alternative speech about the climate crisis, video footage shows.
In a statement released in the early hours of Friday before his suspension, Field said he had reacted “instinctively” and was “genuinely worried” that the protester might have been armed.
He said he “grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible”, adding: “I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I felt I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”
Field said he had referred himself to the Cabinet Office to “examine if there has been a breach of the ministerial code and will of course cooperate fully with their investigation”.
Guests at the event raised concerns about security because the protesters appeared to have evaded airport-style checks to enter the hall.
Attendees told the Guardian they feared a terrorist attack was taking place in the seconds after the activists burst in. But those in attendance quickly realised they were climate protesters and “politely” listened to what they had to say, according to a finance worker in the room.
The incident involving Field is understood to have taken place on the opposite side of the hall from where the majority of protesters were trying to give Hammond and the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, their alternative speech.
One dinner guest said Field’s actions “raised eyebrows” and left those who saw the incident shocked.
Asked what happened when the protesters entered the hall, a financier said: “People stopped talking and listened politely. A lady kept reading the same sentences over and over again, but she was very polite. We listened for three to four minutes, said thank you very much and clapped. Then they were asked to leave and security took them out.
“They came straight in, I don’t know how they managed to do it. I brought my passport with me for an ID check when I arrived but it did not happen, but there were security scanners,” he said.
The City of London Corporation said it was investigating the security breach and reviewing its procedures.
Video footage released by Greenpeace shows a protester telling Carney he is doing a “great job” on the climate crisis while the governor asks him to leave. The organisation did not provide details on how the activists gained entry to Mansion House.
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