Demanding to know “who voted for” new U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss’ reversal on fracking, Greenpeace campaigners on Wednesday prominently displayed a banner as the Conservative leader spoke at her party’s annual conference in Birmingham before being forcibly removed from the meeting.
“Who voted for this?” read the sign displayed by Rebecca Newsom, Greenpeace U.K.’s head of public affairs, and Ami McCarthy, the group’s policy officer.
After Truss called for the protesters to be “removed” from the conference hall, the banner was ripped from their hands by security guards, but Newsom and McCarthy quickly produced another sign.
The protest came two weeks after Truss announced the Conservative government will reverse the fracking ban imposed by the party in 2019, following tremors near the country’s only fracking site in Lancashire.
Last week, Truss told BBC Radio that the government “will only press ahead with fracking in areas where there is local community support for that” but did not provide details on how local consent would be secured, and did not respond when an interviewer noted that members of Parliament who represent the area don’t support fracking.
The Greenpeace campaigners on Wednesday said Truss’ plan to return to fracking represents just part of her party’s “U-turn” on policy since she took office.
“Nobody voted for fracking, nobody voted to cut benefits, nobody voted to trash nature, nobody voted to scrap workers’ rights,” Newsom told reporters after the pair were forced to leave the conference hall. “There’s a whole host of things that the Conservative government were elected to do in 2019 that they’re simply not doing.”
The protest followed nationwide outcry over the “mini-budget” the Conservative government released last month, including a tax cut for the wealthy which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced this week would no longer be included in the plan.
“The chancellor said the government is now listening,” said Newsom. “If so, they may want to pay attention to the widening chorus of leading businesses, energy experts, former Conservative ministers, and even the U.S. president telling them to go in the opposite direction.”
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