07 August 2023

Greenpeace should not get ‘seat at the table’ in Government discussions – No 10

07 August 2023

The Government has cut ties with Greenpeace following an anti-oil protest targeting Rishi Sunak’s constituency home.

No 10 said the environmental group should not be given “a seat at the table” in discussions of climate-related issues across Whitehall after the stunt last Thursday.

The move expands on orders given to civil servants in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last week to end engagement with Greenpeace until further notice.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “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 Department for Energy Security and Net Zero cut ties with Greenpeace some months ago.

A Government spokesman said: “Greenpeace’s criminal activity last week demonstrates that they are not a serious organisation, therefore, we do not think it’s appropriate to engage with them.”

Greenpeace defended the protest amid a backlash as “carefully and meticulously” planned for when the Prime Minister, his wife and children were on holiday in California, amid a backlash over security concerns.

The group said ending engagement with its representatives “isn’t going to work” as it accused ministers of espousing a “bunker mentality” about climate issues.

Will McCallum, UK co-executive director of Greenpeace, said: “Burying your head in the sand isn’t going to make the climate crisis go away.

“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. We represent the views of millions of our supporters and have a mandate to hold the Government to account.”

A group of demonstrators had scaled Mr Sunak’s Grade II-listed constituency manor house to protest against 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.

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