Inquiry closed into MP filmed grabbing Greenpeace activist

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Media captionClimate change protesters interrupt Chancellor Philip Hammond’s speech

A Tory MP criticised for grabbing a female climate activist has said he is “relieved” to learn a Whitehall inquiry into his conduct has been closed.

After the incident in June, Mark Field apologised and referred himself to the Cabinet Office for investigation.

He was also suspended as a Foreign Office minister, and last week was sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

Police said they would be taking no further action, while Downing Street said Mr Field had left government.

A spokeswoman said Mr Johnson viewed it as “a matter for the previous PM”.

Mr Field also referred himself to the Conservative Party for investigation and that inquiry is continuing.

Labour’s shadow policing minister Louise Haigh said: “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,” she added.

Protesters from Greenpeace – wearing suits, red dresses and sashes with “climate emergency” written on them – entered Mansion House in the City of London on 20 June, as then Chancellor Philip Hammond was beginning a speech on the state of the economy.

As Janet Barker walked past his table, Mr Field stood up, stopped her and pushed her against a column.

The MP – who represents the Cities of London and Westminster – then put a hand on the back of her neck and led her out of the room.

Footage of the incident was widely shared on social media, with several Labour politicians calling for him to be sacked.

‘Lawful’

Mr Field told ITV News at the time that guests had “understandably felt threatened” and he had “instinctively reacted” when Ms Barker rushed past because he feared she might be armed.

Following the closure of the Cabinet Office’s inquiry, he said: “The City of London Police took eye witness testimony and examined CCTV evidence before exonerating my actions as proportionate and lawful in the circumstances of the serious breach in security.

“Naturally, having co-operated in full with the Cabinet Office investigation, I am hugely relieved that the the matter is now considered closed.

“I have been deeply touched by the letters and emails of support from thousands of men and women from across the country, many from political opponents.”

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AFP

Image caption

Mark Field said he feared the activist could have been armed

Ms Barker told the BBC at the time the purpose of the protest had been to speak to “men who are in power, the bankers, the investors that are continuing to invest into fossil fuels”.

She said Mr Field “manhandled” her “in a way in which was very disagreeable”, but she did not intend to complain to police.

In a statement, City of London Police said it had received a number of reports that an offence of assault had occurred.

“Following careful assessment and giving consideration to the events of that evening and the subsequent views of Janet Barker in relation to the action of Mark Field MP, City of London Police will be taking no further action against Mr Field.”