Tory MP Mark Field caused a stir back in June when he grabbed a climate change activist by the neck at a black-tie event. The assault on Janet Barker was caught on camera, and Field was then suspended from his job at the Foreign Office by former PM Theresa May. On Monday, new reports emerged as Downing Street confirmed the investigation into Field’s behaviour had officially been dropped, as Boris Johnson claims the issue concerned the previous PM.
Whitehall and the City of London Police were both involved in the investigation against the Conservative MP but neither investigation will continue. On the 29th of July, a statement was released asserting that the prime minister believed the issue was ‘a matter for the previous prime minister concerning his conduct during his time as a minister under her appointment.’
Greenpeace activist Jane Barker broke into a high-profile dinner with other climate change protesters. In response, Mark Field took physical action to remove her from the premises. The protesters disturbed the event to demand action for the ongoing environmental crisis, but say they were protesting in a peaceful manner. Barker stresses she was only walking past the MP’s chair when he grasped her by the neck.
At the time of the attack, Barker told the BBC that she ‘expected to maybe engage in a conversation or two with people, perhaps people blocking my way. But certainly not to be grabbed round the neck.‘ The peaceful protest took quite a turn when Field approached the activist, and major controversy spread throughout the country.
Just two days after Boris Johnson confirmed the investigation would be dropped, Labour urged the PM to expel Field from the Conservative party. Labour’s shadow police minister Louise Haigh spoke on the matter: ‘Having previously failed to condemn his actions, this is a test of Boris Johnson’s attitude towards women. He should kick him out of the Conservative party immediately’.