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Climate Movement Pledges ‘Maximum Disruption’ to Hold Keir Starmer to Account for £28bn Green U-Turn

Protesters plan to target the Labour leader’s decision to ditch his flagship climate commitment

Protesters dressed as executives from fossil fuel companies and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer pour fake oil from a champagne bottle as Extinction Rebellion stage a protest against new fossil fuels. Photo: Vuk Valcic / Alamy

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A major youth climate campaign has pledged to launch 100 days of disruptive action to mark the first days of a Labour Government if the party is elected later this year, amid anger over the party scrapping its plans to spend £28bn a year on green investments. 

Labour last week drastically scale back its plan to spend £28bn a year on green investment in the next Parliament – replacing it with a pledge of £4.74 billion in green spending a year. (The party will also spend an annual £10 billion that the Government already committed to spending on green projects.)

Around £11 billion of the extra investment will come from the party’s windfall tax on oil and gas, while the rest will come from borrowing to invest – provided it meets Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves’ strict ‘fiscal rules’. The party has also drastically scaled back its plans for a mass home insulation campaign. 

Fatima Ibrahim, founder and director of Green New Deal Rising, told an election launch conference on Monday that climate movements will “create as much disruption as possible” in Labour’s crucial first months in power, to make clear that the climate crisis must be a priority. 

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Describing plans for mass lobbies of MPs and a “festival of disruption and action”, Ibrahim said the group would “remind a Labour Government what it feels like when movements are out on street and have power.” 

“Remember 2019 – Extinction Rebellion was out, we had climate school strikes – the Government was running behind social movements. We want that timed by ten when Labour are in power,” Ibrahim told activists and reporters. 

Despite Labour’s U-turn, Ibrahim added: “We’re not going to stop now – £28bn was just the beginning…We’ll hold Labour accountable.” 

Joined by the mayor for the North of Tyne, independent Jamie Driscoll, and Brighton Pavilion Green Party candidate Sian Berry AM, Ibrahim pledged to launch “the biggest youth electoral operation this country has ever seen.” 

In contrast to other climate campaigns, GNDR plans to get involved in electoral politics directly this year, focusing on selecting and supporting ‘Green New Deal champions’ across eight key seats. 

The organisation has played a role pushing for more radical Labour policy on climate – and has now vowed to hold the party accountable for backtracking on its £28bn annual green investment pledge. The party says it remains committed to launching a new publicly-owned green energy company, Greater British Energy, as well as a new national wealth fund to invest in green infrastructure, as well as getting to 100% clean electricity by 2030. 


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The UN’s spokesman on ‘climate defenders’ hit out at the Conservatives’ suite of anti-protest laws – and media rhetoric against green activists.

However, Labour has blamed “Tory economic chaos” and spiralling costs of servicing Government debt after ex-PM Liz Truss’ 2022 mini-budget as the reason for the cut in climate ambition. 

But Jamie Driscoll hit out, saying: “What is Conservative policy today becomes Labour policy tomorrow.” He claimed “not one hand” went up when he asked 300 North East business leaders recently if Labour or the Conservatives would do enough on climate. “There are now £28bn reasons not to vote for Labour” after the u-turn, Driscoll said. 

GNDR revealed plans to boost youth voter turnout in its battleground seats, with plans to increase the youth vote by 60,000 for the North East mayoralty, where Driscoll is mounting a fierce independent campaign against his former Labour party. 

The group is beginning door-knocking and phone banking for some Greens, independents and several left-wing Labour MPs, understood to include Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. 

Under a Labour Government, GNDR plans to copy the tactics of right-wing groups like the European Research Group, and the Net Zero Scrutiny Committee, a Conservative caucus within Parliament that many believe has pushed Rishi Sunak to abandon several key environmental pledges. 

Jamie Driscoll, the North of Tyne mayoral incumbent now running for the much larger new role of North East mayor this May, shared his vision for integrating public transport in the region, having negotiated a £6.1bn devolution deal from Conservative Levelling Up minister Michael Gove. Driscoll was fiercely critical of Sir Keir’s party, blasting Conservative and Labour policies for failing to address the climate crisis adequately. 


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Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove now sets the overarching “strategy and policy” of the previously independent Electoral Commission.

Both Driscoll and Ibrahim criticised the sequence of so-called fiscal rules that have defined UK economic policy since the financial crisis, demanding a new framework for Government spending that prioritises green investment and public welfare. 

Funding for GNDR’s election campaign will rely on grassroots support and crowdfunders, Ibrahim told Byline Times

Venice, a GNDR organiser and teaching assistant in Keir Starmer’s Islington seat, quit the Labour Party over alleged climate failings. She told the press conference: “Our future is bigger than party politics. We don’t care who stole our futures – we care about who’s going to help us get our futures back. We have everything to lose, and we won’t give up.”

As GNDR gears up for May elections – and a General Election date known only inside No 10 – many Gen Z and millennial voters hope to put the climate crisis front and centre. And they will take on any party that they don’t believe lives up to the scale of the challenge.

As Ibrahim added: “Our generation has always been fighting for our future…In that struggle, there are no permanent allies, and no permanent foes.”

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