Climate crisis campaigners disrupted a government minister’s speech as he launched a Tory election campaign amid cars costing up to £1.98million.
Wandsworth Conservatives held their Gala Campaign Launch at a luxury car showroom, Joe Macari Performance Cars in Merton, where a McLaren P1 GTR could set you back the price of 20 black cabs or 200,000 boxes of washing powder.
It does on average about 20 miles to the gallon.
Education secretary Nadhim Sahawi was shocked to have the start of his speech there yesterday disrupted by “suprise guests” Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth, who dropped a banner bearing the words “No Planet B” from a balcony.
The two peaceful protesters were removed with what XR dubbed “totally unnecessary and unwarranted violence”.
A statement issued by the campaigners said: “What does this choice of a luxury car showroom as the venue for the launch of their
campaign for re-election in the May local elections say about Wandsworth council’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency, which they declared almost three years ago in July 2019?
“Reducing car use has to be a central plank of any strategy to reduce emissions and address the climate emergency. Wandsworth council excluded some environmental groups, including Extinction Rebellion, from their ‘Together on Climate Change Festival’ at Battersea Arts Centre in November but invited Shell to have a stall.
“Extinction Rebellion again interrupted proceedings carrying a huge black coffin – and were welcomed with applause by other participants in the festival. Will they ever learn?
“And what does it say about Wandsworth Conservatives’ relationship with Wandsworth residents, so many of whom are struggling to make ends meet in the middle of an unprecedented cost of living crisis?”
The cheapest car appearing on Joe Macari’s website costs a mere £38,950, with the most expensive listed price as £699,950. The McLaren P1 GTR is listed as “price on application”.
The statement added: “The event also featured a fundraising auction, with a week in a luxurious waterside house near St Tropez and being ‘driven to and from Goodwood in a Classic Ferrari’ among the items to be bid for.
“What message does the sight of Conservatives quaffing champagne and canapés at £100 or £50 a ticket surrounded by obscenely expensive cars give to local people?
“Extinction Rebellion had a presence outside the venue all evening, with a greenwashing machine and a greenwashing clothesline drawing attention to the Conservatives’ blatant hypocrisy on the climate emergency.”
Also present were Wandsworth Stand Up to Racism, Wandsworth Stop Deportations, Green Party members, South London XR Drummers and Plastics Rebellion.
XR higlighted that Nadhim Zahawi had served as Chief Strategy Officer for Gulf Keystone Petroleum International. In January 2016, he voted against a Labour Party amendment in Parliament that would have required private
landlords to make their homes “fit for human habitation”. He was a Wandsworth councillor from 1994 to 2006.
Wandsworth Conservative party have been contacted for comment.
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