Extinction Rebellion targets Labour Party HQ, demanding radical manifesto on climate breakdown 

Activists pour fake oil and scale Labour Party headquarters to demand a future Labour Government takes urgent action to cancel new fossil fuel licenses, fund the transition to renewables and end Drax

Staff arriving this morning (18 September) at the Labour Party’s Blackfriars Road London headquarters have been confronted by a pool of oil flowing down the steps and climbers setting off smoke grenades on top of the portico. Banners declare “Labour: Cut The Ties to Fossil Fuels”.

One activist has chained himself to a handrail, and two others have scaled the building. They are demanding that, if Labour wins the next general election, it must do more than stop issuing new oil licenses and cancel any licenses granted by the Conservatives before the election [1].

The UK Government has said it would issue hundreds of new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. It is expected that it will soon approve Rosebank, the UK’s largest oil and gas field, which experts say would cost the UK £3.75 billion in tax breaks and would certainly exceed our remaining carbon budget without providing energy security to the UK [2].

Marcus Bailie, 68, from South Wales, said: “We demand an end to all new fossil fuel licences, including cancelling any awarded by this zombie Tory government before the next election. Emissions must peak by 2025, opening a huge new oilfield like Rosebank would make that impossible. Starmer should be warning fossil fuel companies now that any new licences will become stranded assets.”

The campaigners are also demanding a manifesto commitment to make the transition to renewables an urgent priority of a new Labour government, so that it has a mandate for radical change should it win.

Heather Wilde, 18, from Lincoln, said:”I am terrified for my future, our leaders have totally let down my generation. Labour has scaled down its commitment to fund the transition to clean energy, saying it will wait until the economy grows first! This concept is doomed to failure, while the economy is still dominated by fossil fuel use, increased growth will inevitably mean increased greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot afford more delay, we demand immediate action on climate breakdown from a new Labour administration.” [*3]

Jessica Upton, a vet & foster carer from Oxford, added: “We must see a commitment to ending false climate solutions like burning forests for power. Drax cannot be a climate solution, it emits vast quanties of greenhouse gas AND drives deforestation. The Earth’s forests and oceans must be protected if the biosphere is to recover. Voters desperately want climate breakdown [*4] addressed, Labour must step up and commit to addressing this existential threat.”

This is the second time in three days that Labour has been targeted by climate activists. On Saturday’s Fight To End Fossil Fuels march (16 September) another Extinction Rebellion action near Parliament Square saw a group parodying the opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer. A figure dressed like Margaret Thatcher but wearing a lifelike Keir Starmer mask shared black ‘oil’ from an outsized champagne bottle with ‘executives’ from Equinor, Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Ineos, who stuffed ‘Prime Minister Statcher’s’ handbag full of cash.

Today’s protest is part of a series of ‘Cut the Ties’ actions which launched in November 2022. The campaign targets a web of organisations which are propping up the fossil fuel economy. So far there have been 30 actions at 24 sites. You can support these actions here: https://chuffed.org/project/lxkkq3mzp8etwux

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-66396048
[2] https://www.stopcambo.org.uk/updates/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-rosebank-oil-field
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/jun/09/labour-government-would-have-to-delay-28bn-green-fund-rachel-reeves-says
[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/9/6/un-announces-climate-breakdown-after-record-summer-heat
[5] https://www.desmog.com/2023/01/26/labour-accepted-12000-from-major-polluter-drax/