Foreign Office minister Mark Field has faced backlash after video footage showed him roughly grabbing a climate change protester and physically removing her from a dinner at Mansion House.
In the footage, Mr Field, who is a Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, is seen stopping a female protester by pushing her against a column before holding her at the back of the neck and forcefully walking her out of the room.
It came as activists interrupted a black-tie event where Chancellor Philip Hammond was giving a speech.
According to ITV, Mr Field has referred himself to the Cabinet Office for investigation and has apologised “unreservedly” to the protester.
In a statement to ITV, Field is quoted as saying: “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.”
He added that he “deeply” regretted the incident and would cooperate fully with a Cabinet Office investigation.
After the footage emerged, Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley told the Press Association that Mr Field had done nothing wrong.
He said: “The woman clearly was trying to create a fuss. Most viewers would say it’s good that she didn’t succeed.”
When asked if Mr Field had been heavy-handed with the protester by grabbing her by the back of the neck, Sir Peter responded: “No, he reversed her direction and she looked as though she went willingly. I think there’s no reason to criticise Mark Field… Of course it wasn’t an assault, it was a reversal of direction.”
But there was condemnation from other MPs who saw the clip of Mr Field.
Watch it below.