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Activists Won’t Budge Until Starmer Stops ‘Backsliding’ On Environment

Above photo: Green New Deal Rising.

Activists from the group Green New Deal Rising have staged more sit-outs targeting Labour Party MPs. The group has vowed to protest outside their offices every week until the party takes “bold action” on the climate crisis.

It follows several instances of what the group describes as Labour “backsliding” on its environment promises – as well as people from the campaign disrupting a speech by Keir Starmer:

So, the group sat outside Starmer’s constituency office on Friday 14 July:

‘There is an appetite… for Labour to be bolder’

One of the latest climate-related actions also took place outside the office of Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray. According to the group:

Similar protests were also staged in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff and across the Midlands, targeting other members of the Shadow Cabinet.

Green New Deal Rising said of the Murray protest:

Beginning at 11am on Friday, young climate activists in Edinburgh gathered outside of Ian Murray’s constituency office, urging them to commit to doing more in the face of the Climate and Ecological Emergency. The group criticised the Labour Party’s failure to adequately respond to repeated calls from young people for rapid decarbonisation, a just transition to a low emissions economy and investment in green jobs. Ian Murray is the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland in Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet.

The group says it wrote to Murray’s office in advance of the protest – to which a member of staff replied. However, the group also asked if Murray still supported a Green New Deal. So far, neither he nor his office have responded. The group said of 14 July’s action that protestors:

stayed outside for the morning holding placards and engaging with Murray’s constituents, and were met with great support from passers by in cars and on foot. “Clearly, there is an appetite in his constituency for Labour to be bolder on their climate policies”, Calum from the group said after speaking with many passers by. “In a number of conversations, we were asked how people can get involved or whether we had a petition to sign”.

‘Do more’

The Murray protest formed, according to the group:

part of a national campaign by Green New Deal Rising pressuring the Labour Party to ‘Be Bold’ in their manifesto pledges ahead of the next UK General Election, which must be held before December 2024.

Green New Deal Rising is demanding that the Labour Party commit to passing legislation in the first 100 days after the election which:

  • Expands public ownership.
  • Taxes wealth.
  • Delivers a green jobs guarantee and a living income.
  • Enacts a National Nature Service.
  • Makes polluters pay globally.

Calum Hodgson, a member of the group from Edinburgh said:

We are protesting because as Scotland’s only Labour MP, we need to see Ian Murray do more for young people in Scotland. He has previously written in support of a Green New Deal, so if he’s serious about tackling the climate crisis we need him to stand up and speak out against the Labour Leadership’s current backsliding. The sit-out was a brilliant celebration of young people’s commitment to climate justice.

Green New Deal: Labour “failing voters”

The group has drawn attention to the fact that:

Keir Starmer announced Labour’s ‘Green Industrial Strategy’ earlier this year, but has already U-turned on a number of issues in response to fossil fuel lobbying, by reneging on his commitment to prevent new North Sea oil fields from opening and delaying the timing of green investment. Polls consistently show that the electorate are in favour of more action on environmental issues as well as public ownership.

Molly Shelton, a member of the national campaign group, said:

With broad support across the UK for a Green New Deal, Labour is failing voters and refusing to show leadership on climate. We need to rapidly reduce emissions, tax polluters and create millions of good, unioned, green jobs. With the election on the horizon, there’s never been a better time for Labour to prove itself by taking bold action and implementing our well-researched and entirely reasonable demands.

Green New Deal Rising says it will return to Labour MPs’ offices again next Friday.

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