Tory MP accused of assaulting a climate change activist

MARK FIELD, a British junior foreign minister, has referred himself for a government investigation after grabbing a demonstrator by the neck and pushing her when a climate-change protest interrupted a speech by Britain’s finance minister.

Several women on Thursday evening (20) prevented finance minister Philip Hammond from speaking for a few minutes by using loudspeakers to shout slogans during an annual banquet in London’s landmark Mansion House building.

Field, the minister of state for Asia, grapples with a woman and then holds her by the back of her neck as he marches her out of a room, according to footage posted online by broadcaster ITV.

“I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise 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.

Field’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The main opposition Labour Party’s spokeswoman for women and equalities Dawn Butler said Field should be immediately suspended or sacked. “This is horrific,” she wrote on Twitter.