‘Our leaders are only going backwards’: Parent and kids protest at MPs voting records on climate

Parents and their children protested outside a museum to highlight the climate and environmental record of their local MPs.

The families say they are concerned about MPs who had supported sewage dumping and licences for new oil fields.

Parents for Future South East London organised the protest and gathered with their children at the Horniman Museuem in London Road, Lewisham, on Sunday with large colourful banners setting out the environmental voting record and political stances of MPs for area.

Anna Wisniewski, 36, with her son at the protest, worried about him overheating in 40 degree weather last year (Picture: Michelle Sanders)

Sarah Amandes, 41, from Enderby Street, Greenwich, is a member of Parents for Future South East London.

She said: “We are incredibly worried about what the future holds for our kids – and all kids. We already see dangerous air pollution from fossil fuels in our local communities.

“The decisions made in the next five years are critical if we have any hope of reducing emissions to what we’ve committed to internationally, and right now our leaders are only going backwards on their climate and nature commitments. It’s time for change.

“We have a responsibility to the kids we love to vote for the MPs who will support urgent action on the climate crisis.”

The banner for Ellie Reeves, who represents Lewisham West and Penge, cited her calls for fully funded home insulation, whilse her neighbouring MP for Beckenham, Bob Stewart, voted against government action on climate 23 times.

Labour MPs Janet Daby and Helen Hayes were highlighted for taking action on clean air and supporting the Climate and Ecology Bill, respectively.

Conservative MP for Orpington, Gareth Bacon, in contrast, voted to allow dumping of sewage in rivers and coastal waters for another 15 years.

The Parents for Future group is a parent-led climate movement with a network of more than 25,000 supporters across the country. The group say they have no political party affiliation but are concerned for the future of their children.

Anna Wisniewski, 36, lives in Durban Road, West Norwood said: “In the 40 degree heat last year, I worried about my baby dangerously overheating as they can’t regulate their temperatures well when they are so young.

“I worry that many species of birds and insects won’t be around for my baby to see when he is old enough to appreciate them. I also worry more generally about what kind of world he is going to be inheriting from us. 

“We need a government who take the climate emergency seriously now.”

These actions come in the wake of government backtracking on climate and environmental commitments in recent months, including the announcement of over 100 new oil and gas licences in the summer and new oil and gas legislation in the King’s Speech.

Parents For Future is calling on politicians of all parties to commit to immediate action on climate change, stopping all new oil and gas licences, including the controversial Rosebank oil field off the Scottish coast, and for government investment in renewable energy to bring down energy bills.

Charlotte Howell-Jones, Co-Director of Parents for Future UK, said: “Parents up and down the country have reminded their local MPs that how they vote and what they say on climate and environmental issues matters, and they will be held to account for it at the ballot box.

“As elected politicians our MPs have a responsibility to protect all of our children’s futures from the threat of climate change, and parents will not vote for candidates who fail to do so.”

Gareth Bacon and Bob Stewart have both been approached for comment.

Pictured top: Parents from across South-east London gathered with their children at the Horniman Market to highlight MPs voting records (Picture: Michelle Sanders)

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