THE Greenpeace activist who was grabbed by Foreign Office minister Mark Field was part of an oil rig protest in Scotland only days earlier, it has been revealed.
Greenpeace activist Janet Barker (middle with red hair), who was grabbed by Foreign Office minister Mark Field was part of an oil rig protest in Scotland days earlier[/caption]
Mr Field has been suspended as a minister after forcibly stopping Ms Barker at a black-tie City dinner on Thursday[/caption]
The MP has apologised for confronting Ms Barker and marching her away as protesters interrupted a speech by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Now it has been revealed that Ms Barker was part of the protest in the Cromarty Firth where Greenpeace activists tried to stop a rig departing to drill for oil.
Campaigners boarded the Transocean rig in the Cromarty Firth on June 9, which had been bound for the Vorlich oil field 150 miles east of Aberdeen.
BP, which contracted the rig, had described the actions of the climate change campaigners as “reckless”.
However, Greenpeace said the protest showed what people could achieve, and called on the oil giant to end drilling for new wells.
It’s thanks to brave, committed and indefatigable activists like Janet that we can make a real difference as a campaigning organisation.
Fourteen people were arrested and the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise then shadowed the rig into the North Sea.
Greenpeace ended the 12-day protest earlier this week.
But Ms Barker was photographed among activists in the Cromarty Firth.
She was in a support boat on June 10 that spent the night under the rig which protesters had boarded – and she also helped re-supply the group. It is not known if Ms Barker actually boarded the rig at any time.
A spokesman for Greenpeace said:”She’s part of our boat team and was providing some safety support for our climbers in the initial stage of the rig occupation in Cromarty.
“It’s thanks to brave, committed and indefatigable activists like Janet that we can make a real difference as a campaigning organisation.”
Mr Field has apologised for confronting Ms Barker and marching her away as protesters interrupted a speech by Chancellor Philip Hammond[/caption]
Ms Barker was part of the protest in the Cromarty Firth where Greenpeace activists tried to stop a rig departing to drill for oil[/caption]
One local said:”She has a distinctive look so when I saw her on TV being marched out by the MP I recognised her from the oil rig protest.
“She was one of the support team who on the first night when the activists boarded the rig and she was on the support boat that spent the night floating under the rig to provide help for the ones on the rig.
“She came ashore the next morning and helped re supply that boat. I think she was there for a few days.”
Following the row over his handling of Ms Barker, Mr Field said he had been “genuinely worried” she may have been armed.
Ms Barker said he should “reflect on what he did” and suggested he “go to anger management classes”.
“He certainly manhandled me in a way in which was very disagreeable,” she said, but added that she did not intend to complain to the police.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said Prime Minister Theresa May had “seen the footage” and “found it very concerning”.
She added that Mr Field had “referred himself to both the Cabinet Office and the Conservative Party. He will be suspended as a minister while investigations take place.”
Climate change protesters – wearing suits, red dresses and sashes with “climate emergency” written on them – entered Mansion House on Thursday night, as Mr Hammond was beginning his speech on the state of the economy.
One of them began reading an alternative speech.
As Ms Barker walked past his table, Mr Field stood up, stopped her and pushed her against a column.
The Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster then put a hand on the back of her neck and led her out of the room.
Before his suspension, Mr Field told ITV News that guests had “understandably felt threatened” and he had “instinctively reacted” when Ms Barker rushed past.
“There was no security present and I was, for a split second, genuinely worried she might have been armed,” Mr Field said.
He added: “I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her, but in the current climate I felt the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”
Ms Barker told the BBC 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”.
“We were polite with people and said: ‘We’re here to deliver a message’,” she said.
City of London Police said they were looking into “a number of third-party reports of a possible assault”.
Asked if she felt Mr Field’s actions amounted to criminal assault, Ms Barker said: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t want this to turn into a mud-slinging match.”
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The activist, who travelled from her home in Wales to take part in Thursday’s protest, said: “350 people were there and only one person reacted that way.
“It’s more the behaviour of that individual. I want him to reflect on what he did and not do it again. Maybe he should go to anger management classes.”
Labour’s shadow Women and Equalities minister Dawn Butler tweeted: “This is horrific… [Mark Field] must immediately be suspended or sacked.”
Campaigners boarded the Transocean rig in the Cromarty Firth on June 9, which had been bound for the Vorlich oil field 150 miles east of Aberdeen[/caption]
There have been calls for Mr Field to be sacked[/caption]
Mr Field put a hand on the back of Ms Barker’s neck and pushed her out of the room[/caption]
Ms Barker has said she does not think Mr Field’s actions amounted to criminal assault[/caption]
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