Minister suspended after "grabbing" activist - How would you react?

I’ve been thinking about this on and off, since reading the first report this morning… what are your thoughts?

He’ll probably get away with it because MPs really are in serious danger in the current febrile atmosphere in the UK (as Cox’s assassination proved), so there is a sort-of plausible defense.
But obviously he over-reacted and was unjustifiably rough - made himself look like a very unpleasant bully.


Agreed, and yet, he would have looked like a hero if she’d been trying to throw acid, a bomb etc etc. Where were security ?


In my opinion he was heavy handed and if it had been a muscle bound man protesting I doubt if he’d got out of his seat.
For me the most sickening aspect is that nobody got up from that table to tell him to get his hands off the woman.
As for the security aspect, no the protesters should not have got in but no-one will ever persuade me that Mark Field thought there was any risk. I suspect if he had thought that he would not have got so close to a potential knife carrier.


In that flash of time - I would have jumped up and grabbed whoever - been there done that !!! Don’t wait to see if they are male/female just stop the advance and (attempt) to limit the danger.

In these times - swift action is needed. There was no Security there and I have no problem with what occurred. If it had been a Man the MP dealt with - no-one would murmur…


Good point Stella and exactly how we’re trained above the clouds!! Once things escalate - it’s too late.

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He only needed to simply hold her until security arrived IMO, what is perhaps more shocking is that there were no checks to get into the event and no visible signs of any security within the room given that the Chancellor was giving a speech.

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The woman had calmly walked the length of the table. He knew exactly what he was dealing with imo. I don’t think he jumped up to deal with a risk I think he was angry that working class folks had got into his posh dinner venue.


I agree with @Stella and @simonflys. I think he acted on instinct to a perceived threat and under the circumstances he acted appropriately, if not gently. I have acted in similar fashion to a perceived threat, but my response has always been to restrain without inflicting harm, as was his from my observation.

Restraint necessarily involves some form and level of safe physical control.

When the situation is under control something else kicks in which is to understand the perceived threat, and that usually involves modifying the restraint.

The fact that he turned himself in and offered a reasonable justification for his action with no hint of an excuse serves to vindicate his action IMO. He also apologized.

I don’t know if there has been a mediated face-to-face meeting between the two, but that would help them both.

He doesn’t deserve to be sacked. That would be an injustice, everyone could learn from the event handled intelligently. But as history teaches us, intelligence is in short supply in British political society.


The question has to be asked… where the hell was the armed close protection officer whose task it was to protect the Chancellor?
or is just it that he is worth sacrificing (as he’s going to loose his job anyway)


I think that he overreacted, and it was also clear that he did not have the necessary training to subdue her safely. Finally, had she actually been armed and intended to use a weapon he would have probably come off badly/offered no useful protection to the chancellor.

He’ll probably be reinstated when it has all blown over/Johnson is in No 10 but it’s right that he has been suspended for the moment.

The activist has said she doesn’t wish to press charges.


I don’t disagree with your first paragraph, Paul, he hasn’t been trained in control and restraint, and acted on instinct as some people do in similar circumstances, when the majority respond with numbness and inaction.

People who do respond as he did are often described as heroes, but it’s not an act of heroism to act on instinct, some people are wired that way and don’t give their own safety any consideration, because the reflex action, like the knee-jerk to a doctor’s patellar hammer, by-passes the thinking part of the cortex.

With thorough training he would be a skilful security operator IMO.


The young woman who was subject to Mr Field’s action has spoken on TV saying she didn’t expect such action.

This speaks to Greenpeace’s negligence in preparing protesters for all kinds of reaction to unexpected disruption on their part, which is likely to include a defensive/self-protective response to threat i.e. some potential for aggression.

I think the young woman volunteer has shown commendable restraint and insight and, if she and the MP were to meet and debrief, much of value could emerge to inform a wider discussion on an important societal issue.

There are a couple of videos of this which I presume are real. They seem to show a bunch of women interrupting the chancellors speech by heckling. Not really a hugely aggressive act, and one that he should be able, and be trained, to handle.

There did seem to be some sort of security officers who were managing to remove several of the women without violence. And Greenpeace I believe do train their volunteers just to slump and not resist or offer violence themselves.

If I had been in her position and grabbed by that man I would have tried to thump him! She did not react which suggests that she was prepared.


Thank God for women like this one. Without them suffrage would never have happened. Worthwhile change often has to be fought for as in South Africa. If the environment is not worth fighting for then we might just as well all live beyond our means burning forests and driving fast cars because there will be nothing worth leaving to our children and grandchildren.


So does the ends justify the means-whatever the means may be?

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If it’s disturbing a bankers dinner and walking round a table, then yes.
The suffragettes were very violent including in Ireland planting a bomb. Nobody last year condemned the suffragettes when celebrating their achievements, Nelson Mandela is no longer condemned for violence.
This woman last night has brought attention to climate change without harming anyone.


Would you say the same if the person had been trying to draw attention to something you DIDN’T believe in ? Or is it only valid in support a cause you believe in?

It is difficult,and I honestly don’t know what I think in the bigger picture. In the smaller picture,we have spent years warning MPs et al of the risk of attacks , terrorism etc. Who knows what his brain perceived in those few seconds? We had an incident at work the other week where we had to call security.A security guard and two porters attended and the visitor completely kicked off. There was a period of a second of two were on instinct I ran towards them before I thought ‘Stop you are an overweight 56 year old riddled with arthritis ‘ I do find it very concerning that in this day and age security seems to have been so poor