Wes Streeting disrupted by Palestine and climate activists after green pledges scrapped and fossil fuel donations to Labour revealed

London, UK. 15 April 2024. Climate activists from Climate Resistance drop a banner from Westminster Bridge reading 'Stop Polluting Politics’. Credit: Andrea Domeniconi/Climate Resistance

Last Saturday 11 May, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting, was interrupted by campaigners from Stop Polluting Politics whilst giving a speech at the Progressive Britain Conference.

Protestors stood on chairs and activists loudly protested Labour’s decision to scrap their £28 billion green investment pledge as well as expressing their anger at the party’s inaction on the genocide in Gaza.

“We’re on the brink of climate collapse. This week scientists have renewed warnings to politicians. And the Labour Party is scrapping its climate promises and taking money from polluters!” one of the protestors accused, pointing to Labour’s controversial donor Drax.

“How the hell do we stand here as ‘progressive’ when we basically have the same policies on Gaza as Tories?” another protestor asked Streeting. The protestors were led out by security.

The Labour Party has accepted £12,000 from Drax, owner of the UK’s single largest source of carbon emissions. Streeting himself received £80,000 worth of donations from hedge fund manager and fossil fuel investor John Armitage. Armitage, until recently a Tory donor, owns $77.2 million US dollars worth of shares in Shell and $236 million in Cenovus Energy.  Meanwhile, the First Minister of Wales, Vaughan Gething, is under fire after accepting a £2ook donation from a company which has twice been fined for environmental offences – it’s not gone well whilst Welsh Labour are either bringing in or considering in a number of unpopular climate-related policies in the principality, including the Sustainable Farming Scheme, potentially a ULEZ-style road charging scheme in Cardiff and speed restrictions on the M4 to “improve air quality”.

So how concerned should we be about climate?  This week, scientists issued a warning that global temperature rise may reach at least 2.5C, increasing the dangers of climate breakdown. It’s therefore unsurprising that the Labour Party has faced criticism over abandoning its £28 billion pledge of investment into green infrastructure.

In the past months, Labour has shown a lack of will and indecision in approach to the unfolding genocide on Gaza, admitting this contributed to its loss of support in the May election. As the IDF is preparing an assault on Rafah, a formerly designated safe zone where over a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering, the UK has yet to halt arms shipments to Israel.

Sam Simons, spokesperson for Stop Polluting Politics, said:

“From broken climate pledges to Gaza, leading Labour figures are showing shameless disregard for people’s lives. Wes Streeting ignores war crimes against Palestinians, takes money from fossil fuel investors, and then he shows up to a Labour conference flaunting his ‘progressive’ politics. This hypocrisy cannot stand.

The general election is on the horizon and we deserve better than this. Labour must show whose side they’re on. Do they work for the people, or are they just trying to pander to climate-wrecking energy companies and oily hedge fund managers?”