City MP Mark Field has been suspended as a minister after a video circulated that showed him grabbing a climate change protester by the neck.
Police are investigating third-part reports of assault at the event at Mansion House last night. Greenpeace has accused the foreign officer minister of assaulting a female protester.
Activists disrupted the dinner attended by chancellor Philip Hammond and Bank of England Governor last night in an attempt to bring attention to the “climate emergency”.
Speaking before his suspension Field said he “deeply regrets” the incident but had to defend himself and other guests from a potential threat.
“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,” he said in a statement to ITV.
The MP faced pressure to resign following the incident, with shadow women and equalities secretary Dawn Butler calling for Field to be “immediately suspended or sacked due to violence against women”.
However, Field’s supporters said the MP had taken action to protect guests.
“I remember being worried and confused when protesters crashed a room full of guests and senior politicians,” Tom Sleigh, councillor for Bishopsgate, said.
“But most of us would have remembered that people try to kill MPs.”
City of London police said it was called to Mansion House by security staff after protesters entered the event. No arrests were made.
“We have received a small number of third party reports of an assault taking place at the event. These reports are being looked into by police,” a police spokesperson said.