The Tory MP and Minister Mark Field has referred himself to the Cabinet Office for them to examine whether there was a breach of the ministerial code when he intercepted and manhandled a Greenpeace activist at last night’s Mansion House speech. But the only person who should be under investigation after last night’s Greenpeace invasion should be the Head of Security for the event. How could so many protesters get so close to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond?
Just two years on from Khalid Masood’s attack on Westminster, MPs of all parties are more than aware that an Islamist attack on politicians is expected. Islamists come in various garb and hues – not all are dressed in thawbs or sport long beards. If you watch the film of Field’s interception of the Greenpeace activist who ran down his side of the room, he has the seat nearest the wall so was the most obvious last defence between the intruder and the Chancellor. Furthermore, Field has been the MP for the (financial) City since 2001 and must have felt that he was there in the capacity of host.
If the idiotic Greenpeace protesters had been suicide bombers or – as Field rightly judged in an immediate reaction to limit damage – that in their handbags these protesters were carrying arms, then the only correct way of handling them was manhandling, whether they were men, women or children. Just because that looks bad – out of context and adrenalin-free – doesn’t mean that it is bad.
The pathetic reactions from Labour and Lib Dem politicians can only be expected from people less concerned with facts and more concerned with provoking emotions in people less of the head and more of heart:
What if this protester in a dress had turned out to be carrying a pistol? What if she was revealed to be a Chechnyan terrorist? How can anyone – in those seconds of panic when the protesters stormed the Mansion House speech – have known that their environmental protest was genuine?
Field would have been lining up to receive a medal if his protester had turned out to be a terrorist. That she was some dumb Greenpeace watermelon is just how things turned out. Field should be given a pat on the back by colleagues rather than being treated like some kind of misogynist wife-beater. Let’s hope his bravery is seen by Cabinet Office investigators.