The Prime Minister spoke out during a transatlantic plane journey – as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said protests blocking the M25 are “illegal” and police must act more quickly to stop them
Climate change protestors who have brought traffic to a halt on Britain’s busiest motorway are “detracting from their mission”, Boris Johnson has warned.
The Prime Minister claimed that Insulate Britain was failing to “do any favours” towards their aim of tackling carbon emissions.
The group has sparked anger by repeatedly blocking the M25 orbital motorway around London last week – with numerous demonstrators arrested on Friday.
Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned the “guerrilla tactics” of the protestors as “selfish” as she said they detracted from their calls for more action on insulating houses.
Mr Johnson, in New York on Monday to argue for more action to tackle climate change at the United Nations, suggested police were right to move demonstrators on.
He said that tactics used by Insulate Britain, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion climate change campaign, were counterproductive as they disrupted peoples’ lives.
Asked about the group’s direct action, Mr Johnson said: “No, I don’t think these people do any favours to their cause.
“think that what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared by the people of this country.”
The PM defended the police for stepping in to break up protests that were disrupting the live of everyday Brits.
“They are taking powers to be able to move protestors when they are threatening critical national infrastructure, when they are threatening to do serious economic damage and i think that is entirely right.”
However, Green MP Caroline Lucas said her party believes non-violent direct action is “legitimate when other forms of trying to raise issues with the Government have failed”.
It comes after the Transport Secretary said protests blocking the M25 are “illegal” and police must act more quickly to stop them.
Insulate Britain protesters targeted the M25 for a fourth time in little more than a week on Monday, blocking slip roads by gluing themselves to the carriageway and pouring paint on to the roads as part of their campaign to improve home insulation.
The group said many of the people involved in Monday’s protests were involved in three similar demonstrations last week across junctions in Kent, Essex and Surrey.
Police have come under pressure from the Government to clamp down on the protests and limit disruption while one minister said the protests are “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.
Grant Shapps told the PA news agency: “I think it’s irresponsible, I think it’s dangerous.
“It’s completely counterproductive as well because they’re actually creating the pollution they want to get rid of by having cars standing still, so there’s no justification for that kind of action.
“I call on them to stop and the police to intervene.”
Asked if he wants the police to take a more robust approach to the demonstrations, Mr Shapps said: “The police will have to work out their approach and tactics, but it’s not right for our roads to be blocked for illegal protests like this to take place, and for it to happen repetitively.
“I’ve no doubt at all the police will want to learn from their experience and make sure they’re able to step in more quickly and efficiently.”
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