WATCH: Tory MP Mark Field condemned for grabbing female Greenpeace activist by the neck
A senior Tory MP has been condemned after footage emerged of him grabbing a female Greenpeace protester by the neck at a plush event in the City.
Foreign Office minister Mark Field pushed the woman against a pillar before frogmarching her out of the Chancellor's Mansion House speech.
She was one of a number of environmental activists who gatecrashed the event to highlight the threat of climate change.
Footage posted online by ITV political correspondent Paul Brand showed a furious Mr Field leap from his seat as the woman walked past the table where he was sitting.
The MP for the Cities of London and Westminster was severely criticised by both Labour and Conservative politicians.
Dawn Butler, Labour's shadow equalities minister, tweeted: "This is horrific. Conservative Foreign Office Minister Mark Field violently grabs a woman as she protests about climate change at the bankers’ banquet. This appears to be assault. He must be immediately suspended or sacked."
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.
"To use your physical strength to overpower someone as a first and unprovoked response says a lot about a person."
And Tory MP George Freeman tweeted: "This looks appallingly rough handling of a woman climate protester in a dress. But before everyone rushes to instant armchair judgement can I suggest that all of us who weren’t there & don’t know what was said or done just wait a few hours to hear what those who *were* there say."
In a statement, Mr Field said he initially feared the woman may have been armed, but apologised "unreservedly" for his behaviour.
He said: "In the confusion many guests understandably felt threatened and when one protester rushed past me towards the top table I instinctively reacted.There was no security present and I was for a split-second genuinely worried she might have been armed.
“As a result I grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible.
"I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I fet the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present."
Mr Field said he had also referred himself to the Cabinet Office to determine whether he had breached the ministerial code of conduct.
Greenpeace UK said: “We were shocked at the footage of an elected MP and government minister assaulting one of our peaceful protesters at the Mansion House tonight.”