Conservative suspended as UK Foreign Office minister after he physically attacked climate activist
The United States isn’t the only English-speaking country where politicians can be loose cannons: in the U.K., Conservative MP Mark Field has been suspended from his position as a Foreign Office minister following a physical attack on a female Greenpeace activist.
In a video that has been posted on the Guardian’s website, Field can be seeing grabbing the protester by the neck at a June 20 dinner at London’s Mansion House and physically removing her from the event — and she can be heard saying, “It’s a peaceful protest.” Greenpeace activists disrupted the dinner in order to draw attention to the climate change crisis.
The 54-year-old Field has said he feared the Greenpeace protestor might have been armed; regardless, outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May (who is also a member of the Conservative Party) decided to suspend Field after watching the video.
In an official statement, a spokesperson for May noted, “The police have said they are looking into reports over this matter,” adding that Field “will be suspended as a minister while this investigation takes place.”
Members of the Labour Party, which is presently headed by liberal/progressive Jeremy Corbyn, have asserted that Field’s suspension is not enough and are calling for his resignation. Labour Party MP Dawn Butler, who has served as Shadow Women & Equalities secretary since 2017, described the video as “horrific.”
Field has apologized yet maintains that he acted “instinctively” and was concerned about the safety of those attending the dinner.
“I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologize to the lady concerned for grabbing her,” Field said. “But in the current climate, I felt I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”
Greenpeace activists are known for nonviolent protests and peaceful acts of civil disobedience.