Our chair, Dr Rachel Keys, has written the following open letter to Sir Peter Bottomley after his comments defending Mark Field MP after last night’s incident involving a Greenpeace protestor at last night’s Mansion House Speech.
Sir Peter Bottomley,
We, the undersigned wish to express our strong objection to the remarks you made on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, the 21st June 2019.
Freedom to dissent and peacefully protest is part of our democracy. To say that “Mark Field did what any sensible person would have done to difuse what could have been a tragic situation”, and “I would have done it and I think that most other diners there would have done the same” condones the disproportionate action taken by an member of parliament. From the video recording it is clear that the action taken by Mr Field was common assault and was not “just reversing her direction” as you have stated. He had his hand on her neck. From the expression on her face she did not look as if she went willingly. If someone had acted in the same way towards you what would your reaction have been? Would he have done the same to a male protestor?
It is our belief that a more acceptable response would have been to ask her to leave. If she refused, it would then be up to security personnel, who were presumably at the event, to deal with. By condoning and excusing the actions taken by Mr Field, against a Greenpeace protestor, you appear to be normalising vigilante type behaviour.
The precedent set if this assault is accepted is deeply worrying for society in general. The rise in misogyny, highlighted by the public policing of women’s behaviour should be concerning to all those holding a public office.
Dr Rachel Keys, Worthing West CLP Chair
Steph Powell, Worthing West CLP Vice Chair
Cllr Helen Silman
Sam Theodoridi, Worthing West CLP Trade Union Liaison
Cllr Sally Smith
Ian Walker, Secretary Worthing West CLP
Vicky Brook Moran
Cllr Beccy Cooper
Cllr Richard Mulholland
Matthew Burgess Turner
Cllr Carl Walker
Cllr Margaret Howard