Government cuts ties with Greenpeace after anti-oil protest at PM’s mansion


Government cuts ties with Greenpeace after anti-oil protest at PM's mansion

Government departments should cut ties with Greenpeace following the charity’s protest at Rishi Sunak’s empty mansion last week, Downing Street said.

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said the organisation should not be given a “seat at the table” in Whitehall discussions of climate-related issues following the anti-oil stunt.

However, Greenpeace campaigners hit back accusing the government of a “bunker mentality” and saying it is because ministers have “shut the door” on civil society groups that they protest the way they do.

Five people were arrested and subsequently released on bail after scaling the roof of Mr Sunak’s Yorkshire manor and draping it in a black-oil fabric while he was on holiday with his family last Thursday.

Government cuts ties with Greenpeace after anti-oil protest at PM's mansion

MPs strongly condemned the breach of the PM’s security, and it was reported the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had been ordered to cease engagement with Greenpeace until further notice.

DEFRA would not comment on the reports at the time but Downing Street has now confirmed this is the case.

The PM’s spokesperson said communication with the group was no longer “appropriate” and all government departments should cut ties with Greenpeace.

Greenpeace defends Rishi Sunak home protest as ‘proportionate response to a disastrous decision’

He told journalists: “Certainly we obviously don’t think that people who are accused of breaking the law should have a seat at the table in discussions with government.

“My understanding is that DEFRA aren’t engaging with Greenpeace because of those actions.

“I don’t think it’s unusual for DEFRA or other agencies to engage with climate action groups – that’s taken place for a number of years.

“But clearly given their actions and the arrests last week we don’t think it’s appropriate to engage with them.”

The Greenpeace protest was over plans to grant more than 100 new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.

The activists draped an oil-black fabric from the roof, staying there from about 8am to 1.15pm when they were arrested and later bailed amid an ongoing investigation by North Yorkshire Police.

Labour and Tory MPs criticised the targeting of the PM’s private home but Greenpeace called it a “proportionate response to a disastrous decision” to grant new licences.

Cutting ties with Greenpeace ‘deeply damaging’

The group remained defiant following the decision by Downing Street to cut ties.

Greenpeace co-director Will McCallum said the charity represents the views of millions of supporters so has “a mandate to hold the government to account”.

“Burying your head in the sand isn’t going to make the climate crisis go away,” he said.

“It’s precisely because the government has effectively shut the door to civil society groups, like Greenpeace, as well as ignoring warnings from the UN, its own advisers and the International Energy Agency, that we need to protest in the way that we do.

“The bunker mentality on display from this current government is deeply damaging – cutting ties with Greenpeace isn’t going to help.”


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