Hitchin and Harpenden MP ‘sympathises’ with suspended MP Mark Field over protester incident

Bim Afolami said he "sympathises" with Mark Field. Picture: Martin Wootton

Bim Afolami said he "sympathises" with Mark Field. Picture: Martin Wootton - Credit: Archant

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami says he “sympathises” with a politician who has been suspended for grabbing a climate change activist by the neck.

A video of Cities of London and Westminster MP Mark Field manhandling Greenpeace campaigner Janet Barker went viral this morning.

Eco-activists had interrupted a speech by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond at Mansion House wearing 'climate emergency' sashes.

Janet was walking behind Mr Field's chair when the incident happened. The politician stood up, pushed her against a column, and escorted her out of camera shot by the back of her neck.

Following widespread outrage from MPs and on social media, the BBC reports that police are looking into the matter and Mr Field has been suspended.

He referred himself to the Cabinet Office to examine if there has been a breach of ministerial code.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Mr Afolami this morning retweeted a tweet from journalist Quentin Letts, which read: "Why on earth should Mark Field apologise? He played a blinder."

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The tweet currently has nearly 3,000 likes, 500 retweets, and 200 comments.

Mr Afolami said: "MPs exist in a high security environment for a reason.

"Security breaches should be taken seriously and Mark wasted no time reporting himself to the Cabinet Office to be investigated. I sympathise with both parties on this occasion."

A statement issued by Mr Field said: "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 rushed past me towards the top table I instinctively reacted.

"There was no security present and I was for a split-second genuinely worried she might have been armed."

In an interview with the BBC, Janet said she planned to "stand there dignified" and has called Mr Field's actions "over the top".