Anger as Boris Johnson lets Tory MP Mark Field off the hook for attack on peaceful protester

Ed Sykes

Conservative MP Mark Field attacked a peaceful protester in late June. But just over a month later, new prime minister Boris Johnson has let him off the hook. And for many, Johnson’s inaction shows he “really doesn’t give a hoot about misconduct”.

Letting a thug off the hook

On 20 June, Greenpeace activists interrupted a posh black-tie event in London with a peaceful climate emergency protest. Field grabbed one protester by the neck and shoved her out of the building. For many people, this act represented an elitist disdain for peaceful protesters – particularly from the ruling Conservative Party. And an April letter from Field calling for the police to exercise a “much firmer grip” on climate crisis protests only confirmed this apparent contempt.

As the protester told The Canary:

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he grabbed me by the neck and the arm…

When he pushed me against that wall, he would have realised that I wasn’t a threat and that I didn’t have anything on me that was dangerous…

He pushed me hard. I didn’t fall but it felt like he wanted me to. There was a sense he thought ‘I’m better than you, who do you think you are?’…

I was shaken…

Field later apologised, but said “I felt I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present”.

Johnson has now dropped the government investigation into Field’s conduct. The MP is no longer a minister at the Foreign Office, and a spokesperson for Johnson said:

Mark Field has now left the government. The current PM considers this issue was a matter for the previous PM concerning his conduct during his time as a minister under her appointment

“Johnson really doesn’t give a hoot about misconduct”

Many people saw Johnson letting Field off the hook as an example of just how little the new PM cares about misconduct – especially when men are the aggressors:

(Police “attended an alleged altercation” back in June, but reportedly found “no cause for police action”.)

Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, meanwhile, said:

76% of Johnson’s hard-right cabinet are men, while 64% went to “fee-paying schools”. And considering that Johnson has brought several disgraced politicians into his cabinet, one journalist asked:

The aggression of rich and powerful men

Grassroots network Momentum highlighted that Johnson going easy on Field is hardly surprising considering his own past behaviour:

In short, Field getting away with his aggression could well be a sign of things to come under Johnson’s leadership. It should also serve as a stark reminder of just how important it is to get the toxic Tories out of power asap.

Featured image via YouTube – Sky News / Twitter – ITV

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