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:
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…
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Do Tories realise that slamming a climate change protestor into a pillar for trying to draw attention to the fact our planet is burning might not be the best look?pic.twitter.com/3OoYRJKZ95
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) June 20, 2019
Field later apologised, but said “I felt I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present”.
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:
This, coupled with the return of Gavin Williamson, Priti Patel and Grant Shapps to cabinet shows that Boris Johnson really doesn’t give a hoot about misconduct.
He cares about personal loyalty to him, and to holding onto his wafer thin majority. https://t.co/uQMVTvrJjr
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) July 29, 2019
He hasn't lost his job. Mark Field is still an MP and any man who thinks it is ok to grab a woman like that, isn't fit for not just government but parliament at all.
— Sarah Owen (@SarahOwen_) July 29, 2019
If parties won’t hold their MPs to account for violence against women then public should be able to. WE are campaigning for Mark Field to be recalled by his constituents for this appalling behaviour https://t.co/24BTq6lz26
— WomensEqualityUK (@WEP_UK) July 29, 2019
Boris Johnson, whose recently had the police stop by to ensure he hadn’t been violent towards his girlfriend, scraps the inquiry into Mark Field pinning a woman to the wall and grabbing her throat. This is how the patriarchy protects itself.https://t.co/4L7BJOxsb2
— Sister Outrider (@ClaireShrugged) July 29, 2019
(Police “attended an alleged altercation” back in June, but reportedly found “no cause for police action”.)
Shadow policing minister Louise Haigh, meanwhile, said:
.@LouHaigh: "Never mind not being fit for a job in government, Mark Field isn't fit to be an MP.
“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." https://t.co/STdHZUXkTh
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) July 29, 2019
How long before Mark Field is back in a ministerial position? Place your bets. pic.twitter.com/vi1vZ98lL4
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) July 29, 2019
The aggression of rich and powerful men
It should be no surprise that Boris Johnson has dropped the inquiry into Mark Field's assault on a climate protester when there's literally a recording of him conspiring with a friend to have a journalist beaten up.https://t.co/BGtsTAy0IV
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) July 29, 2019
Boris Johnson is our new Prime Minister.
In case you forgot, here’s a reminder of who he really is… pic.twitter.com/5asly4afwu
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) July 24, 2019
This is the phone call Boris Johnson doesn't want you to hear.
His friend, convicted fraudster Darius Guppy, planned to have a journalist beaten up, and Johnson was happy to help.
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) June 26, 2019
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.
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