Sarah Dines MP comments on the Birmingham attacks and Extinction rebellion protests

Today, Monday 7 September, The Home Office delivered an oral statement to Parliament regarding the Birmingham attacks this past weekend and numerous protests by Extinction Rebellion. The Home Office reiterated the Government’s commitment to tackling violent crime and expressed their sympathies with families and victims of violent crime in all its forms.

 

On Friday night Extinction Rebellion protesters used trucks and bamboo scaffolding to block roads outside of the Newsprinters Works in various locations. These pressers print the Sun, Times, Sun on Sunday and Sunday Times as well as the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard. 80 protesters were arrested nationally on Friday night.

 

Sarah Dines MP said, ‘I was shocked and saddened to hear of the incident in Birmingham over the weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their friends and families.

 

I am pleased that the Government are committed to tackling violent crime and have increased Police funding, provided surge funds for those forces most affected by violent crime and set up Violence Reduction units to identify those at risk and intervene early.

 

Free press is the cornerstone of British society. The freedom to publish without fear, nor favour, to scrutinise our institutions and to inform the public are indispensable. The actions of Extinction Rebellion on Friday were a direct challenge to this freedom. Extinction Rebellion claim to be an environmental group, yet their actions undermine this worthy cause. They are not interested in purely peaceful protest but instead seek to impose their view through this kind of direct action. I am passionate about the right to peaceful protest, but I can not and will not support an organisation that use these tactics, not least at a time when the country is coming out of the depths of a pandemic and we are only just recovering from the profound disruption of lockdown.

 

Our police, like other frontline workers have worked tirelessly during this period to keep us all safe and in placing unnecessary pressure on our emergency services, the action of these protesters are disrespectful not only to the police, but the public they are trying to protect.

 

I, like many others care passionately about climate change and I am proud of the Government’s track record on tackling climate change. We are the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050 and since 2000 we have decarbonised our country faster than any other G20 country. I am in full agreement with the Home Office today in their statement that Extinction rebellion should be working with the Government towards tackling climate change and building the green economy; not causing disruption, breaking the law and undermining the livelihoods of hardworking people.

 

I once again want to thank our Police for keeping us safe and the hard work that they do.’