Conservative MPs have slammed the Labour Party over its decision to hire a former Extinction Rebellion lawyer as a senior political advisor.
It has been revealed that Tobias Garnett, who has worked as political advisor for the Labour Party since April 2020, previously worked as a lawyer for the activist group.
In an article he wrote for the Guardian in 2019, he is described as “coordinator of Extinction Rebellion’s legal strategy team”.
Reacting to the revelation, Lee Anderson, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “Their entire energy policy is being dictated by Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil loonies.”
“As these eco-zealots line Starmer’s pockets with their donations and whisper in his ear, Labour are plotting to smash up British industry, kill thousands of jobs and leave us at the mercy of foreign powers,” he said.
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith said Labour was “moving from being a national political party that wishes to govern to a protest group”.
Asked whether Labour should reconsider having advisors who have that kind of background, Duncan-Smith said: “Yes, they should… somebody who is so obviously intent on a particular purpose, which includes deliberately interfering into people’s daily livelihoods and their ability to get around, is surely not fit for advising a national political party.”
Fellow Tory MP Gareth Bacon said Labour leader Keir Starmer can not be taken seriously on law and order if he’s “cosying up” with activists who “disrupt people’s lives and block ambulances”.
“With their economically illiterate plan to ban new oil and gas, Labour is getting into bed with eco-zealots whose ideas will jeopardise our energy security and thousands of jobs,” Bacon said.
Conservative MP Henry Smith argued that Labour employing a senior policy adviser from Extinction Rebellion is “very telling.”
He said: “The party’s announcement of ending all new North Sea oil and lack of nuclear power investment during their last 13 years in power has set back UK energy transition and will harm affordability as well as security.”
The comments come after GMB trade union leader Gary Smith yesterday said that Labour’s plans for North Sea oil and gas industry were “naive”.
Labour has vowed to end new oil and gas licences in the North Sea – a key demand of protest group Just Stop Oil.
Smith said: “I think workers in the petrochemical industry… are going to be very worried about what Labour are saying, and I think it is time for Labour to focus on the right thing rather than what they think is the popular thing.”
He added that the sector has been promised “tens of thousands of jobs” in renewable energy “time and time again” but that they “simply have not emerged”.
Labour and Extinction Rebellion have been contacted for comment.