Just Stop Oil's demands 'contemptible' fumes Keir Starmer in attack on activists

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The Labour leader has blasted activists
The Labour leader has blasted activists' demands (Image: Getty Images)

Keir Starmer has drawn fresh battle lines with Just Stop Oil, branding the group’s demands "contemptible".

The Labour leader said he would not tear up the 100 new drilling licences Rishi Sunak plans to grant to continue North Sea production for decades to come. The party chief insisted he would only ban the issuing of new approvals to explore oil and gas fields.

Mr Starmer tried to distance himself from Just Stop Oil amid mounting Tory attacks Labour for accepting £1.5million in donations from the campaign group's backer Dale Vince. The Labour leader blasted activists’ demands to "simply turn off the taps", arguing it would create "chaos" as existing fields are needed for a managed transition for "decades to come".

But he also attacked the Prime Minister for trying to force a "cultural wedge" between car drivers and those who want to tackle climate change.

Just Stop Oil's demands 'contemptible' fumes Keir Starmer in attack on activists rriddqixxiqezinvThe Labour leader said he would not scrap licences issued by the Government (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

"The likes of Just Stop Oil want us to simply turn off the taps in the North Sea, creating the same chaos for working people that they do on our roads. It's contemptible," he wrote in The Times. "On the North Sea, Labour's plan is pragmatic and fair. To secure a managed transition, we will need our existing oil and gas fields for decades to come. We won't revoke any licences issued by this Government because, unlike them, we take investor certainty and legal obligations seriously."

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Mr Sunak angered climate activists and green-minded Tories by announcing plans to "max out" oil and gas reserves. He claimed the measure would boost economic growth and bolster energy security after Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin pressured Europe by cutting supplies.

The Tories' narrow victory to hold on to Uxbridge and South Ruislip in last month's by-election has led to calls to rethink the way policies to alleviate the climate crisis are implemented.

Mr Sunak has sought to portray himself as being on the side of "motorists" after London Mayor Sadiq Khan's Ulez anti-emissions charge was linked to Labour's failure to win. The Prime Minister has ordered a review of low-traffic neighbourhood schemes, as some Tories press for environmental measures to be eased during a cost-of-living crisis.

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Ben Glaze

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