Tall claims of protection of women and suspension of UK minister

Tall claims of protection of women and suspension of UK minister

By Zaib Azkaar Hussain


What a contradictory approach a UK Minister Mark Field has, who in May this year makes tall claims about the protection of women all over the world and in June he himself grabbed the neck of a female Greenpeace activist.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May has suspended the Tory minister (Mark Field) who was filmed grabbing a rabbit-loving eco-protester by her neck last night (Thursday). The PM was shown footage of MP Mark Field forcibly ejecting the Greenpeace campaigner from the Mansion House dinner in Central London and said it was “very concerning.”

How ironic is that a month earlier (on May 9) the same suspended Foreign Office minister  in one of his tweets said “The UK remains committed to helping women all over the world to feel safe and protected in the work they do, so they can speak freely and be part of the change we all want. My remarks at the Westminster Hall Debate on Women Human Rights Defenders.”

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.

Downing Street said Theresa May had viewed the footage of the incident on Thursday night and decided to suspend him.

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.”

May is understood to have spoken to her chief whip, Julian Smith, after viewing the footage, and Smith told Field he had been suspended mid-morning on Friday.

It may be mentioned that Mark Field was a minister in Jeremy Hunt’s team at the Foreign Office and was supporting him in the Tory leadership contest. Hunt told the Media: “Mark has issued a full and unreserved apology. He recognises that what happened was an over-reaction.”

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 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.”

Field said he had referred himself to the Cabinet Office to “examine if there has been a breach of the ministerial code” and that he would cooperate fully with its investigation.

Nothing is strange when a minister in of a foreign country decides to refer himself to the cabinet and offers his ‘examination’ whereas on the contrary in our country it seems impossible to hear from any ministers or some other heads of any departments would prefer to offer an ‘examination’ against him about any allegations of torturing or harassing someone.

Guests at the event raised concerns about security because the protesters appeared to have evaded airport-style checks.

The incident involving Field is understood to have taken place on the opposite side of the hall from where the majority of protesters were stopped trying to give Hammond and the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, their alternative speech and distribute leaflets.

One guest said Field’s actions had “raised eyebrows” and left those who saw the incident shocked.

Some of the male protesters – who were wearing black tie – appear to have sat down at the dining tables, before getting up as a group and leaving to join the female protesters who were wearing distinctive red dresses with a sash saying “Climate emergency.”

The City of London Corporation, which organises the dinner, said it was investigating the security breach.

Greenpeace did not provide details of how the activists gained entry to Mansion House.

Field’s situation is complicated by the fact that he has been responsible for the UK government’s response to the crisis in Hong Kong, where he called this week for allegations of “inappropriate use of force by the Hong Kong police” to be properly investigated. Questions about his own conduct could make it harder for him to press for restraint in Hong Kong.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *