Starmer faces pressure to hand back £1.5m donation from backer of eco-zealots

Just Stop Oil protest hits Premiership rugby union final

Labour is facing a fresh call to hand back £1.5million in donations from a major backer of Just Stop Oil.

Conservative MP Paul Scully said it is “shocking” Sir Keir Starmer’s party has taken money from Ecotricity founder Dale Vince, who is also a donor to the activist group.

Mr Scully – the frontrunner to be the Tory London mayoral candidate – also vowed to crack down on eco-zealots causing chaos in the capital if his bid to take Sadiq Khan’s job is successful.

He told the Express: “Extinction Rebellion and their offshoots have been allowed to terrorise and desecrate London for too long.

“They have put lives at risk by blocking ambulances, attacked the lives and livelihoods of ordinary Londoners trying to go about their business and work, and have tarnished some of the great buildings and monuments around the city with their wilful vandalism.

“It was always shocking that Labour took money from a man who directly funded these hooligans.

“No wonder under Sadiq Khan they have been allowed to continue their activities.

“It is time for Labour to hand the money back and for the Labour Mayor to clear our streets of these protesters.

“If he doesn’t then if I am elected Mayor in May next year I will make it a priority.”

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Mr Scully’s comments come after Conservative Chairman Greg Hands wrote to his Labour opposite Anneliese Dodds demanding the party return donations from Mr Vince.

Mr Hands’s intervention came after Just Stop Oil activists disrupted the Gallagher Premiership rugby final at Twickenham on Saturday, days after a protest at the Chelsea Flower Show.

In his letter, he said: “Since 2014 the Labour Party have taken £1.5million in donations from one of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil’s biggest donors, Dale Vince.

“Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have together taken £30,000.”

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Mr Hands urged for the money to be given back as he cited concerns about the “influence” of the eco-zealots on Labour.

He said: “Given these attacks I am calling on you to return these donations.

“I am concerned about the influence of this money given the Labour Party’s decision to vote against tougher measures to stop disruption via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

“I note the Labour Party has already caved into the demands made by the group and announced a halt to new oil, gas and coal projects.”

Environmental activist group Just Stop Oil was founded by organisers from both Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain.

It describes itself as a “nonviolent civil resistance group demanding the UK Government stop licensing all new oil, gas and coal projects”.

Labour has been contacted for comment. 

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