A tiny handbag full of leaflets

News from London:

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 had felt threatened when the protester walked past him and was worried she might have been armed.

I watched the video several times yesterday afternoon. It’s pretty shocking.

The activist, Janet Barker, said on Friday that she was incredulous at his reaction and welcomed the suspension but would not press criminal charges. “I think it is something best dealt with in the court of opinion,” she said.

Barker said Field had pushed her so hard as they reached the door that she had almost fallen. She said he should take anger management classes. “I want him to think about what he did, why he did it and address his behaviour.”

She said she had made no sudden movements or behaved in any way that could have been construed as physically threatening. “I had a phone and a tiny handbag, which was open and full of leaflets,” she said. “The only thing I was armed with was peer-reviewed science.”

Philip Hammond was preparing to deliver his set-piece address in the City of London when dozens of Greenpeace activists interrupted him to give 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”. He said he “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 I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”

Yeah. She could have had a missile in that tiny purse.

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