Keir Starmer Slams Just Stop Oil Protesters As 'Arrogant' And 'Wrong'

Starmer said he wants longer prison sentences for protesters glueing themselves to roads.
Keir Starmer on LBC on Monday
Keir Starmer on LBC on Monday

Keir Starmer has slammed Just Stop Oil protesters as “arrogant” and said their action is “wrong”.

The Labour leader did not mince his words when asked about the eco protesters who have been criticised for their methods in recent weeks.

Starmer also said he wants longer prison sentences for protesters glueing themselves to roads as they are putting lives at risk.

During one protest, in west London, emergency vehicles could not get through after activists glued themselves to the asphalt. Another demonstration involved soup being thrown over a Van Gogh masterpiece.

Starmer told LBC: “I think they’re wrong. I think their action is wrong. I particularly think about the images we’ve seen of ambulances coming down the road and not being able to get through because people have glued themselves to the road.

“My mum was very ill all of her life. She was in those ambulances when she was alive, there will be other families listening to this who are in the same situation. It’s arrogant.”

However, Starmer said the action we take in the next 10 years would be “absolutely determinative” and we will not get to net zero in 2050 if we “don’t take the right measures now”.

He said Labour had a green prosperity plan to go for renewables and the country could have have clean power by 2030.

He said we had a “once in a generation opportunity” but added: “I think it’s arrogant of those glueing themselves to the road to think they’re the only people that have got the answer.

“They haven’t got the answer and I don’t know how they could look in the eye the families who’ve got someone in the back of an ambulance.

“They certainly wouldn’t be able to look me in the eye if it was my mum - my late mum now sadly - who was in that ambulance.”

Asked to promise that he would not allow any new oil or gas licenses, Starmer replied: “Yes, I can. We accept there’s got to be a transition. So where there is oil and gas already being yielded that needs to continue as part of the transition but no new sites, no new fields to be opened. We need to transition to renewables. We can do it.”

Asked about police not having the powers to remove protesters, he replied: “There are the powers to do it. I was Director of Public Prosecutions for five years - there were a lot of demonstrations and protests then.

“It wasn’t the lack of law to do it, it was the decision making. We didn’t have any cases that came across my desk where I said ‘well it’s obviously wrong but we haven’t got the laws to prosecute’. We always had the laws available.

“I think some of the positions of government recently has been posturing rather than actually taking this case forward.”

Asked if we needed new laws, Starmer replied: “What we were pushing for...was longer sentences for those who are glueing themselves to roads and motorways - because that’s where you’re putting lives at risk. We didn’t get that through but that’s what I wanted.”


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