Tory MP Johnny Mercer tells everyone to 'calm down' over Mark Field neck-grab incident

Ellen Manning
Jonny Mercer has backed Mark Field after he grabbed a climate change activist at a dinner in the City of London (Picture: PA/BBC)
Mark Field has received the backing of Jonny Mercer after he grabbed a climate change activist at a dinner in the City of London (Picture: PA/BBC)

Fellow Tory MP Johnny Mercer has backed foreign officer minister Mark Field over an incident with a climate change activist, urging everyone to “calm down”.

Mr Field has come under fire for what some have branded an “horrific” act after he grabbed a climate change activist by the next at a black-tie dinner at Mansion House.

The MP for Cities of London and Westminster has apologised and is under investigation by the Conservative Party over his actions.

But fellow MP and former Army officer Johnny Mercer has backed Mr Field, saying his colleague had “panicked”.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Honestly? Try being in our shoes in the current environment.

“He panicked, he’s not trained in restraint and arrest, and if you think this is ‘serious violence’, you may need to recalibrate your sensitivities. Calm down, move on, and be thankful this wasn’t worse.

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Mr Field is facing calls to be sacked after video footage showed him manhandling a Greenpeace protester against a pillar and then grabbing her neck before forcibly marching her from the room.

He said he reacted “instinctively” and had been “genuinely worried” that the protestor may be armed, adding: “I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I felt I needed to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present”.

Alongside widespread condemnation he has also received support from fellow Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley, who told the BBC: “He intervened, I congratulate him for that, I would have done the same, and although she may have been harmless, others won’t be.

“Not intervening often has a cost and if it becomes a fashion there will be casualties.”

Comedian Jim Davidson also backed Mr Field, saying: “Mark Field acted on impulse. If a woman MP did what Mark did there would be no problem. More sexism cards being played.”

Several MPs have called for Mr Field’s resignation.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s shadow secretary for women and equalities, called for Field to be suspended at the least, writing on Twitter: “This is horrific” adding: “This appears to be assault. He must be immediately suspended or sacked. Due to Violence against women.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “She posed no credible threat from what I can see. There is very little else that could justify this and anyone can see that this could have been done without physical contact. Every MP has to deal with protest and conflict, it is done with words. To watch this is so so awful.”