Extinction Rebellion told to stop protesting by Welwyn Hatfield MP

PUBLISHED: 16:43 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 11 October 2019

Extinction Rebellion protesting in St Albans. Picture: Clare Harvey

Extinction Rebellion protesting in St Albans. Picture: Clare Harvey

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Welwyn Hatfield's MP said Extinction Rebellion should not be protesting in the UK on BBC Question Time yesterday.

Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield and Transport Secretary. Picture: Supplied.Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield and Transport Secretary. Picture: Supplied.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said his department - which faced protestors gluing themselves to the pavement in London - is responsible for the most CO2 emissions, but pointed out that the Government has legislated for net zero by 2050.

"Go to a country that isn't doing anything and protest there," Mr Shapps urged the group at the Beckenham BBC show.

However Extinction Rebellion spokesman Rupert Read accused the Transport Secretary of not telling the truth about the numbers.

Mr Read cited the warnings of the Government's Committee on Climate Change that says "despite well intentional ambition the UK has fallen behind".

St Albans Extinction Rebellion staged a 'die in' in the city centre to raise awareness of climate change in June 2019. Picture: Extinction RebellionSt Albans Extinction Rebellion staged a 'die in' in the city centre to raise awareness of climate change in June 2019. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

He said that the "science has been clear" that we only have until 10 years to prevent our "extinction".

Extinction Rebellion protestor and Welwyn Hatfield constituent Karol Butrimas-Gair reacted with frustration to the interview.

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Mr Butrimas-Gair told Mr Shapps: "Wake up and smell the roses while you still can".

Welwyn Garden City's Greenpeace branch said they were "disappointed" by the remarks.

They said: "Now is not the time for the British public to become complacent or direct responsibility onto other countries. The UK still has a long battle ahead".

Extinction Rebellion was also criticised by former BBC Dragon's Den star Theo Paphitis.

He said: "The argument is undeniable but the method is questionable. We don't need to get people to superglue [themselves] to someone's butt."

In response Mr Read said: "If there are better methods then I'm all ears." The former Green councillor said he has been campaigning for years and "none of it worked".

He told the audience to "forget about polar bears and penguins. This is about vulnerability of our food supply".

Mr Shapps was also asked for his reaction to Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting with the Irish Taoiseach (PM) Leo Varadkar yesterday.

"Well I can tell you they discussed [Brexit] for three hours," he said. He added that Mr Varadkar said there was "a pathway to a deal" which as the Irish premier is not one to "sugarcoat" is fairly significant.

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