Wigan woman at centre of 'manhandling' row at Chancellor's dinner

Janet Barker
Janet Barker

A climate change protester bundled out of a high-profile dinner by a Government minister is originally from Wigan, it emerged today.

Tory MP Mark Field has been suspended as a Government minister for an "over the top" response to Greenpeace activist Janet Barker.

Prime Minister Theresa May made the decision to suspend him from his Foreign Office job after viewing footage of the incident, which she found "very concerning".

Mr Field is yet to apologise directly to Ms Barker, the protester has revealed.

Greenpeace activist Ms Barker said they entered Mansion House where the Chancellor was giving a speech on Thursday in a very dignified and calm manner.

Armed only with what the 40-year-old described as "peer reviewed science", Ms Barker said their protest did not end as they had wished.

Speaking to reporters outside Greenpeace UK's office in London on Friday, the activist who is originally from Wigan, said she does not intend to press charges against Mr Field.

Asked for her thoughts on his apology and suspension as a government minister, she said: "I haven't had an apology from him.

"My priority is the planet and the future of it and that's what I am focusing on.

"The Tory Government can sort out their own staff and discipline them as they see fit."

Revealing she felt very tired this morning, Ms Barker said she was "shaken up" after the incident, and did not "expect that kind of reaction".

"I was expecting a conversation, a dialogue with people. But I certainly didn't expect that. But I'm fine," she added.

Quizzed on whether she accepts the actions of the demonstrators might have caused alarm, she said their message and peaceful intent was clear - something she reiterated as she was physically forced from the room.

"There was over 300 people in that room at the time and there was only one that reacted in that way," she said.

"We had that message, we had the climate emergency, and I think it was quite obvious that we were there for that reason - for a peaceful protest and we weren't armed.

"I was armed with peer reviewed science - the message that we were giving out. That's all I was armed with."