Climate campaigners take protest to MP Reed’s doorstep

Extinction Rebellion took their campaign to save the planet to Steve Reed’s doorstep last night, after a week in which the Blairite MP for Croydon North spoke out on behalf of the oil multi-nationals and called for injunctions and harsh penalties against protestors.

Protesting for the right to protest: Extinction Rebellion left their mark on MP Reed’s office last night

Reed is supposedly Labour’s shadow justice minister at Westminster.

But his call for increased police powers appears to be more closely aligned with the Tories’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill than with his party leader, Keir Starmer’s warning that “the biggest threat we now face is not climate denial but climate delay”.

Reed called for immediate and wide-ranging bans on protesters’ tactics to be put in place.

Reed said ministers should “get on with their jobs” and block further action from the Just Stop Oil group after about 40 arrests were made at Inter Terminals in Essex. Others were arrested at Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire.

“Motorists were already being hammered by prices at the pump, and now millions can’t even access fuel,” Reed said. “The Conservatives need to stop standing idly by and put an end to this disruption that is causing misery for motorists.”

Just Stop Oil has been protesting around oil infrastructure, with protesters chaining themselves to pipes and bringing distribution to a halt.

But while Reed was suggesting that a nationwide injunction would “simplify police operations by enabling them to more easily make arrests”, the United Nations has been calling for a complete halt to investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure – exactly what the Just Stop Oil protests were seeking to highlight.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that investing in new infrastructure relating to fossil fuel production was “moral and economic madness”.

Climate protester: Antonio Guterres believes that not enough is being done to prevent a global disaster

Guterres said, “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing production of fossil fuels.”

A United Nations report published earlier this month found that the international community needs to ensure that global greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2025 to avert “catastrophic” temperature rises.

Reed’s reaction against the climate protests provoked angry responses from within the Labour Party.

Mish Rahman, a member of Labour’s National Executive, described the party’s call for an injunction as “shameful”, especially as “the Tory government is already passing authoritarian legislation to curb our democratic rights”.

Rahman said, “This draconian move is a slap in the face for young people and all those concerned about the climate crisis, a demographic vital to Labour’s hopes of winning the next general election.”

And Jamie Driscoll, the metro mayor of the North of Tyne, characterised Reed’s comments as being on the wrong side of history and a denial of Labour’s traditional position.

“Were the Suffragettes dangerous radicals who refused to understand their place?” Driscoll said.

“Were the Tolpuddle Martyrs treasonous conspirators for wanting fair pay? Were the Stonewall rioters immoral to want gay liberation? Was Nelson Mandela just a subversive terrorist?

“What’s the Labour Party for if it’s not to fight for a better world? Protest is an essential part of healthy democracy. If an individual oversteps the mark, there are already laws in place. The police don’t need new powers.

Wise words: One of the XR posters last night

“If you’re not doing something about the climate emergency, it’s probably because you don’t understand quite how dangerous it is. Either that, or you’re profiting from destroying our planet.”

And XR Croydon took their protest to Reed’s constituency office in Thornton Heath last night, using posters including the remarks of the UN Secretary-General to remind the MP of the severity of the climate crisis.

A spokesperson for XR Croydon said, “An MP’s primary responsibility is to act in the national interest and in the interests of their constituents.

“The impacts of the climate crisis fall first and hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable. The science is clear – this is happening now across the globe and the impacts will also increasingly and unavoidably be felt by Steve Reed’s constituents in Croydon North, and across the UK, starting with the poorest and most vulnerable.

“There is absolutely nothing ‘common sense’ in acting against those seeking the end the moral and economic madness of fossil fuel investments. What we do over the next three to four years will determine the future of humanity.

“As the impacts of climate change become more and more apparent all MPs will find voters demanding to know how their elected representatives could have so misdirected their attention and failed them so badly.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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5 Responses to Climate campaigners take protest to MP Reed’s doorstep

  1. Steve Reed should do us all a favour and sod off to the Tories where he belongs. He’ll be made most welcome there and feel at home

  2. Grace Onions says:

    About time Steve Reed’s atrocious attitude and lack of respect and engagement with his constituents was highlighted. A Labour MP? Really? Supporting any fossil fuel organisation is now complete lunacy.

  3. Janet Smith says:

    Why is it Steve Reed sounds like a confused Tory?

    Is it because he is one?

  4. Anthony Miller says:

    Steve Reed is right. But the government doesn’t need injunctions. The offence of criminal trespass on a protected site was created by sections 128 to 131 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, as amended by section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2006. This allows the government to declare anywhere a protected site and make trespass there a criminal offence. Major infrastructure sites such as oil terminals should be covered by this to prevent the country being held to ransom. Today its XR, tomorrow it could be a terrorist organisation.

  5. Paul Ainscough says:

    “What’s the Labour Party for if it’s not to fight for a better world? Many ex Laour activists are thinking this. Do we really want a Labour Mayor bossed around by Reed? Further, is is worth the risk?

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