The Conservatives have been plunged into controversy after a video showed a minister grab and manhandle a protester who disrupted the chancellor’s Mansion House speech.
Police began looking into the incident on Thursday night after footage seemed to show Mark Field pushing the female Greenpeace activist against a pillar and grabbing her neck. There were calls for Field to lose his position as a Foreign Office minister. In a statement, he apologised to the woman and said he would refer himself to the Cabinet Office over the incident.
It came as a separate scandal threatened the party as Antoinette Sandbach said she was sent messages by an unnamed fellow Conservative MP demanding she leave the party. Senior Tories condemned the messages and pledged to investigate.
The video footage appeared to show an incident that occurred as dozens of Greenpeace activists sought to draw attention to the climate crisis while Philip Hammond prepared to deliver his set-piece address in the City of London.
A group, most dressed all in red and wearing sashes bearing the words “climate emergency”, attempted to read out a message and “drown out” Hammond.
In a short clip, later posted online by ITV News, Field grabbed one of the female activists, shoving her against a pillar and then marched her away while gripping the back of her neck. Greenpeace UK said: “We were shocked at the footage of an elected MP and government minister assaulting one of our peaceful protesters at the Mansion House tonight.”
City of London police said: “We have received a small number of third party reports of an assault taking place at the [Mansion House] event. These reports are being looked into by police.” No arrests have been made, officers said. Read more