The Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP asked the Prime Minister today at Prime Minister's Questions what plans he has to prevent the integrity of peaceful environmental campaigners being impugned.

Press Release from

Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan MP

House of Commons, LONDON, SW1A 0AA

9 September 2020

RT HON DAME CHERYL GILLAN MP’S PLEA TO PRIME MINISTER SO THAT “THE INTEGRITY OF PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNERS IS NOT IMPUGNED”

Chesham and Amersham MP, the Rt Hon Dame Cheryl Gillan, asked the Prime Minister today what plans he has to prevent the integrity of peaceful environmental campaigners being impugned.

Dame Cheryl said:

“The Prime Minister knows very well I have an 11 year track record of opposing HS2, not least because of the environmental damage it is causing, and have expressed my support for peaceful campaigns against this costly project. Regrettably the actions of Extinction Rebellion, who glued themselves to trains and have now tried to interfere with the freedom of the press, have tarnished the reputation of peaceful environmental protesters. Will my Rt Hon Friend tell me what options he is considering to ensure, rather than offering encouragement to law breakers, this unacceptable behaviour and attacks on our democratic freedoms can be prevented from happening again and the integrity of peaceful campaigners is not impugned?”

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, the Prime Minister responded positively saying

“I draw a sharp distinction and contrast between the civilized approach of my Rt Hon Friend to environmental protest and that taken by those who tried in vain to frustrate the freedom of the press. Again, I must say that I was struck by the silence of the Rt Hon Gentleman opposite [Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer MP] when he had an opportunity to condemn. To answer her point directly, I do think it is important now, given the weight of the economic interests that were under threat and the threat to the freedom of the press, that we look at what we can do under public order and indeed under the law on nuisance and that is what we will do.”

Dame Cheryl said afterwards, “I am glad that a distinction will be made so that the rights of peaceful campaigners will not be eroded or the stand they take diminished in any way whether it is against HS2 or climate change which threatens us all. In the week that work started officially on HS2, it is proper that we should be able to monitor their compliance with environmental undertakings, question the assumptions made about the economic case for HS2, query the number of so called numbers of new jobs that they claim to be creating and that the impact on towns and cities should be re-examined in the light of the continuing changes to the ways that we work and live in 2020. Things are very different from what they were in 2009.”