A shadow minister has insisted the Labour party disagrees with Just Stop Oil’s tactics, despite welcoming donations from their financial backer Dale Vince.
Mr Vince, who set up Ecotricity and is chairman of Forest Green Rovers, has donated roughly £1.5m to the Labour Party in the past decade, according to Sky News and Tortoise Media’s Westminster Accounts tool.
Mr Vince has also given money to the group of fossil fuel and climate protesters, which has become notorious for its visible and disruptive protests.
Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock told Sky News this morning: “We’ve made it absolutely clear that the antics of Just Stop Oil are not acceptable. We’re clearly opposed to them. Keir Starmer has made that crystal clear.
“But we don’t expect the people that donate to the Labour Party to agree with every single comma and full stop of our policies and our positions, and I find it very encouraging that Dale Vince has made this donation because he’s very active on green energy.”
“That is closely aligned with the policies of the Labour Party,” he said.
Labour leader Keir Starmer has also previously criticised Just Stop Oil, describing their actions as “wrong” and saying their activists were “arrogant” for thinking “they’re the only people that have got the answer to this”.
Mr Kinnock then touted Labour’s plans to expand green energy across the UK with a “green industrial revolution”.
But he reiterated his opposition to Just Stop Oil: “I don’t think they’re helping their cause. There are better ways to make the very important point.”
Conservative MPs have been quick to criticise the donations.
The home secretary Suella Braverman has questioned whether Sir Keir was going “soft on crime” as a result of receiving the money from Vince. “He had the cheek to claim Labour is no longer the party of protest this year — the reality is he’s in bed with their donors,” she told the Telegraph.
Deputy party chairman Lee Anderson has said: “Every day that Labour takes money from Dale Vince another ambulance is delayed, a hospital appointment is missed, a grieving relative can’t get to a funeral which proves this is a slap in the face to hardworking Brits trying to get on with their lives.”
Conservative party chairman Greg Hands has repeatedly called for Keir Starmer to return the money.
In a letter to the Labour party chair, Anneliese Dodds, on Sunday, Mr Hands highlighted how Labour had voted against legislation to crack down on disruptive protests. “I am calling on you to return these donations”, he wrote.
Mr Vince told the BBC yesterday he would continue to back Just Stop Oil, saying: “Sometimes laws are unjust. And when that happens, people have to stand up and do something about it. This climate crisis will be with us for hundreds of years.”
On his donations to Labour, he said: “I think it is a desperate stretch for the right-wing press and Tory MPs actually to be saying there’s a link here, that this money should be given back. The money is not dodgy.
“I’m not dodgy. It’s all tax paid. I am completely transparent.”
Keir Starmer’s pledge to impose a moratorium on new oil and gas projects puts Labour policy in line with the key demand of Just Stop Oil. But Mr Vince has insisted that there was no link between the donations to Just Stop Oil and reports Sir Keir wants to block new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.