EXCLUSIVE: Just Stop Oil say their protests have shaped Labour policy

EXCLUSIVE: Just Stop Oil are caught boasting their protest tactics have shaped Labour policy in secret recording at a meeting

  • JSO activist Larch Maxey said Labour policy ‘shifted’ after the group’s protests
  • The eco activist outlined plans to further ‘escalate’ JSO’s climate campaign

Just Stop Oil activists are boasting their tactics have shaped Labour Party policy, it emerged last night.

They were secretly taped at a meeting claiming a stunt outside Parliament had influenced the Opposition’s stance.

Larch Maxey said Labour ‘suddenly shifted’ to vetoing new North Sea oil and gas projects after JSO blocked London roads for weeks.

He suggested the shift had empowered the group to ‘escalate to high-level action’.

Energy Secretary Grant Shapps last night accused Labour leader Keir Starmer of surrendering to JSO’s ‘criminal tactics’.

Just Stop Oil campaigner Dr Larch Maxey (pictured) said the protest group was influencing Labour policy

At the meeting in Birmingham last month, Dr Maxey hailed the success of disruptive slow marches last autumn, saying: ‘Very reluctantly we blocked the roads around Parliament every day for 32 days straight.

‘And that suddenly cut through, we were headline news, Labour suddenly shifted and said ‘We hate Just Stop Oil, oh but by the way, we’re going to stop new oil, coal and gas’.

‘It’s how it goes isn’t it? We have to escalate it again. And we blocked the gantries on the M25, then – we had, throughout last year, we had 138 people in prison, we had six lots of high-level action, which helps people understand the truth.’

Labour confirmed in May it would block all new domestic oil and gas developments if it won the next election – mirroring the main demand of Just Stop Oil. It was part of ambitious plans to switch the UK to ‘100 per cent clean energy’ by 2030. However, Labour wants to continue to use existing oil and gas wells over the coming decades.

It has accepted £1.5million over several years from green entrepreneur Dale Vince, one of the biggest backers of Just Stop Oil.

His firm Ecotricity has given £10,000 to deputy leader Angela Rayner and £20,000 to Sir Keir, on top of more than £1.4million to the party over several years, Electoral Commission data shows.

Last month Sir Keir said JSO needed to ‘just stop’, criticising it for ‘interrupting iconic sporting events, causing massive disruption’ all through ‘huge arrogance’.

Sir Keir Starmer said Just Stop Oil need to ‘just stop’ as he criticised the group for ‘interrupting iconic sporting events

On Monday Rishi Sunak said the Government was gearing up to issue ‘hundreds’ of licences for domestic oil and gas extraction in defiance of both Labour and eco-protesters.

JSO described the new licences as a ‘crime against humanity’ and branded the Prime Minister a ‘war criminal’.

Cabinet minister Mr Shapps said last night: ‘Sir Keir Starmer has accepted millions of pounds in donations from one of the founders of Just Stop Oil and backed their demands to destroy 200,000 jobs, saddle families across the country with higher bills and throw away our energy security.

‘By surrendering to the criminal tactics of Just Stop Oil, he has emboldened them to try and make more people miss their job interviews and hospital appointments.

‘Only the Conservatives will stand up to these eco zealots by giving the police the powers to crack down on their disruption and ensuring long-term energy security with new North Sea oil and gas licences and carbon-capture technology.’

A Tory source added: ‘This is what happens when you submit to fanatics – they bank the win and move on to even more extreme demands and tactics.

‘Starmer is too weak and unprincipled to stand up to the likes of Dale Vince whose cash he relies on.’

A Labour Party spokesman dismissed the attack from the Conservatives as ‘desperate nonsense’, adding: ‘Labour’s policies are in the national interest and will mean cheaper bills, more jobs and greater energy security for working people.

‘Labour has repeatedly called out Just Stop Oil’s tactics as arrogant and wrong and we condemn the disruption they cause.’

Larch Maxey (far right) alongside fellow activists Juliett Stephenson-Clarke (far left), Blue Sandford, 18, (centre left) and Daniel Hooper (centre right), who is also known as Swampy, outside Westminster Magistrate’s Court

A Just Stop Oil spokesman said: ‘The Labour Party’s failure to commit to revoking Rishi Sunak’s 100 new oil and gas licences should they come to power, means that their pledge to end new oil and gas is meaningless.

‘They are indistinguishable from the criminal Conservatives. They are cowards that have betrayed us all. It is obvious that our politicians and corporations have no intention of acting in accordance with the fundamental interests of either our young people or the country.

‘This means civil resistance is no longer an option, it is a necessity. In late October, thousands will join Just Stop Oil in London to march on the roads and we will not stop until we win.’

Dr Maxey said last night that the ‘point of the protests is to influence all of the parties and to try and get the science to shape policy, rather than fossil fuel interests’.

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