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‘Eco-zealots’ are writing Labour’s energy policy, says Sunak

Rishi Sunak suggested Labour’s plans to end North Sea oil and gas exploration amounted to an ‘energy surrender’ which would benefit Vladimir Putin.


Sir Keir Starmer has allowed Labour’s energy policy to be written by “eco-zealots”, with Vladimir Putin set to benefit if the plans were ever put into effect, the Prime Minister claimed.

In an extraordinary attack, Rishi Sunak suggested Labour’s plans to end North Sea oil and gas exploration amounted to an “energy surrender”, putting ideology ahead of jobs.

Labour has received around £1.5 million from green entrepreneur Dale Vince, who also supports the Just Stop Oil campaign group.

Mr Sunak said: “It does appear that these kind of eco-zealots at Just Stop Oil are writing Keir Starmer’s energy policy and, not content with disrupting our summer and cherished sporting events, they are essentially leading us into an energy surrender.

“My view is we should focus on energy security, not weakness and dependency which seems to be the Labour Party’s policy.”

A Labour government would stop issuing new licences for oil and gas production in the UK – a move which has prompted fury from both the industry and unions and was branded “completely bizarre” by Mr Sunak.

Speaking to reporters during his trip to Washington, the Prime Minister said: “They are putting ideology ahead of jobs, ahead of investment, and ahead of our energy security – I think that is wrong and it’s not the right policy for the UK.

“It’s a completely bizarre policy which says ‘we won’t ban oil and gas, we’ll just ban British oil and gas’.

“The only people that benefit from Keir Starmer’s energy policy are dictators and autocrats like Vladimir Putin.”

Sir Keir has stressed that “oil and gas are going to be part of the mix for decades to come, into the 2050s”.

Labour is expected to set out full details of its green energy plan next week.

Mr Vince, founder of green energy firm Ecotricity, has donated about £1.5 million to Labour over the past decade.

He has also donated to Just Stop Oil but denied any connection between the two, saying he gives money to “people in the world trying to do something good”.

A spokeswoman for the Labour leader’s office said: “Keir has been outspoken in his condemnation of Just Stop Oil who he believes have put lives and livelihoods at risk.

“The idea that they have influenced our policy is for the birds.

“The modern Labour Party doesn’t bow to fringe lobbies or extremists – every position we take and everything we do is firmly focused on providing security and opportunity for hard-working Brits.”

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