Who is Mark Field, why did he remove a Greenpeace protester from Philip Hammond’s speech and will he resign?

MARK Field has hit the headlines after he was filmed grabbing a Greenpeace protester who barged into the Mansion House during Philip Hammond’s speech.

Here’s the background on the Tory MP and the details on whether he will be forced to resign following the incident.

Mark Field said he reacted forcefully because he feared the protesters who stormed in  may have been armed

Who is Mark Field?

Mark Field has held a number of ministerial roles since being elected as the MP for Cities of London and Westminster in 2001.

Before politics he practised as a solicitor before his political career began and was an elected councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The 54-year-old was born in Germany in October 1964, was educated at Reading School and later completed a degree in law at Oxford.

Two years after winning his seat he joined the Tory frontbench, taking the role of Opposition Whip, he was later appointed shadow minister for London.

After that, roles like shadow financial secretary to the Treasury and shadow minister for culture and the arts followed.

Following the 2017 election he took one of his most prominent positions as minister of state for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign Office.

In that role, he has spoken out on issues such as Britain’s interventions in Iraq and Libya, the collapse of an international nuclear treaty and the plight of the Rohingya in Burma.

Most recently he has blasted Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill, warning that it could have a “chilling effect” on rights and freedoms.

According to his official website, Mr Field has a particular interest in British relations with China and Russia.

The dad-of-two lives in Westminster with his wife Vicki, son Frederick, born in 2007, and daughter Arabella, born in 2011.

Mr Field appears to strong-arm the activists as suited guests watch on
ITV News
Field appears to have his hand around the woman’s neck as he’s seen forcefully ejecting her from the room

Why did he grab a Greenpeace protester?

Field was captured on camera grabbing an eco-protester by her neck last night.

Footage shows the Foreign Office minister forcibly ejecting the Greenpeace campaigner from the Mansion House dinner in Central London.

Ugly scenes broke out after about 40 Greenpeace protesters wearing red dresses stormed the annual banquet for bankers and politicians.

The MP for the Cities of London and Westminster leapt to his feet when she walked past his chair at the black-tie dinner.

He then shoved her against a pillar, grabbed the back of her neck and marched her out of the room in shocking footage obtained by ITV News.

Defending his actions, Mr Field insisted he was responding to a “major security breach” – and feared the protesters may have been armed.

The City of London Police confirmed it had received reports of an assault and are investigating, but no arrests have been made.

Will he be forced to resign?

Members of the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have called for the government to suspend or sack the Foreign Office minister for Asia and the Pacific.

Tory Party Chairman Brandon Lewis said this morning it was “hard for anybody to look at that and not be astonished at what they have seen”.

He said the Conservatives would launch their own investigation into what happened to get to the bottom of it.

The incident comes in light of a series of milkshake attacks on politicians.

And it comes just over three years to the day since MP Jo Cox was killed by a far-right madman in her own constituency.

Shadow Women and Equalities minister Dawn Butler described last night’s footage as “horrific”.

And Labour’s Paul Sweeney MP called it “appalling, aggressive behaviour”.

Tory MP Mark Field is seen grabbing the protester from a seated position at the annual Mansion House dinner
ITV News
The Westminster and Cities of London MP was filmed grabbing the woman and pressing her against the pillar
ITV News
Field appeared furious as he marched the protester out of the dining hall
ITV News/Mark Field

Hannah Martin, a Greenpeace activist who was part of last night’s protest, said Mr Field’s actions were “completely disproportionate and unacceptable for a sitting Member of Parliament.”

She added: “I am shocked that Peter thinks its acceptable for a man to violently shove a woman up against a marble pillar and then grab her by the neck while pushing her out.”

But Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley insisted that Mr Field had done nothing wrong.

He said: “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, Sir Peter responded: “No, he reversed her direction and she looked as though she went willingly.

“I think there’s no reason to criticise Mark Field… Of course it wasn’t an assault, it was a reversal of direction.”

Mr Field told ITV News: “A major security breach occurred at the dinner I attended last night when a large number of protesters suddenly and noisily stormed into Mansion House.

“In the confusion many guests understandably felt threatened and when one protester stormed past me towards the top table I instinctively reacted.

“There was no security present and I was for a split second genuinely worried she may have been armed.

“As a result I grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible.

“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.

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

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