Green Party peer walks out mid-interview in grilling over Insulate Britain’s taxpayer bill
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Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones walked out mid-interview this morning after talkRADIO host Nick de Bois brought up Insulate Britain’s cost to the taxpayer. Earlier this week, it was revealed that policing Insulate Britain’s road-blocking protests over three months cost Britain’s taxpayer more than £4m. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was “appalled” by the costs.
However, Baroness Jenny Jones became increasingly frustrated by Mr de Bois’ persistent grilling on the costs.
Instead, she wanted to discuss Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which could include new clauses to create tougher penalties for interfering with key infrastructure such as major roads.
The radio host said: “Insulate Britain have landed us with a bill of £4.3m when they were breaking the law. Where do you stand on that?”
Baroness Jones responded: “What I came on here to talk about was a bill that is going through Parliament, which is absolutely horrendous.
“On the issue of Insulate Britain, and paying their court fees, we have always done that and we have always paid for people to get representation in court.”
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When pressed again, Baroness Jones pointed out that the Suffragettes also broke the law.
Baroness Jones continued: “The point is one I have already answered.
“Protests often break the law. If you want to move on, I’m happy to stay. But if you want to waste my time or the listeners’ time, I will go.
“I just can’t believe you are going over this again.”
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When asked whether it was okay to break the law and still expect taxpayers financial support, the Green Party peer said: “I am going to stop this interview if you keep doing that.
“If you don’t want to talk about the bill, I’m happy to go.”
Soon afterwards, the House of Lords member ditched the interview.
Mr de Bois complained: “This parliamentarian was invited to talk about precisely what I was talking about and then cuts and runs.”
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Insulate Britain wants the Government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions.
It repeatedly blocked major roads between September and November, causing massive traffic disruption.
Mr Shapps said: “I am appalled at the amount of time and public money that’s been spent policing the selfish actions of Insulate Britain.
“Not only did their guerrilla tactics wreak havoc on our roads and inflict misery to thousands of motorists, but they diverted our emergency services away from vital work, costing the UK taxpayer millions in the process.”
Insulate Britain spokeswoman Tracey Mallaghan said the group would “much rather money was being spent on insulating homes and helping get people out of fuel poverty”.
She said they resorted to blocking roads after failing to get attention when they acted legally.
She said: “It seems the only way we can get air time is by annoying enough ordinary people.
“Our government has proved time and time again they’re not doing what is necessary for our children, for the future. So how can we stop?”
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