Zac Goldsmith brands XR 'bullies' in row over 11-year-old activist confronting him at Cop27

15 November 2022, 09:57

Licypriya Kangujam confronted Zac Goldsmith at Cop27
Licypriya Kangujam confronted Zac Goldsmith at Cop27. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Zac Goldsmith has branded Extinction Rebellion "bullies" in a row over an 11-year-old girl confronting him at Cop27.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Licypriya Kangujam tracked down Lord Goldsmith in Sharm El-Sheikh to question him on camera, asking: "When are you going to release the climate activists your Government arrested for protesting against new oil and gas licences?"

At that point Lord Goldsmith, the minister for overseas territories, commonwealth, energy, climate and environment, began walking away, with Licypriya in pursuit.

Their conversation is not audible but she said he replied that he "can do nothing about it".

"He replied, 'No idea' & run away!" she tweeted.

The video was then shared by Extinction Rebellion, who asked for the identity of a civil servant Licypriya claimed pushed her twice to get her to stop talking to Lord Goldsmith - leading to the Peer to label them "bullies".

Licypriya Kangujam speaks during Cop25 in 2019
Licypriya Kangujam speaks during Cop25 in 2019. Picture: Alamy

Extinction Rebellion tweeted their thanks to Licypriya "for speaking up for those in prison in the UK" and said Lord Goldsmith owes her answers.

The group also said the "civil servant that pushed an indigenous 11 year old away for asking a question owes an apology", adding: "Anyone at #COP27 know who she is?"

Lord Goldsmith, the failed London mayoral candidate who was handed a peerage after he lost his seat as an MP in the 2019 general election, responded: "What bullies you are.

"She did nothing of the sort as the video shows. She couldn't have been gentler.

Read more: 58 people charged after four-day Just Stop Oil protests on M25 which will be 'paused' to urge Government to stop new oil and gas licences

Read more: Just Stop Oil cause more chaos as they climb M25 gantries for fourth time on Tube strike day

"But I'll tell you what she does do: works relentlessly-at a fraction what she'd earn elsewhere-fighting to protect nature. & she succeeds. You should thank her & then apologise

"'Anyone know who she is?' Makes me so angry this. She's a civil servant who can't answer back, who works her a**e off for the env & has helped achieve amazing things.

"If we turn things around it will be because of people like her...the person you are seeking to bully. Just awful."

Licypriya is already a seasoned campaigner, having been protesting against the crisis for about five years, starting in her native India.

She earlier hit out at the Lord, saying: "If he can do nothing then why he is a minister?

Watch: Nick Ferrari challenges caller who says Just Stop Oil protesters are 'heroes'

"Why he's coming to #COP27?

"This is unacceptable.

"This is not fair."

A number of Just Stop Oil protesters were jailed following a string of disruptive demonstrations on the M25 last week.

Activists scaled overhead gantries, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The group is calling for the government to end all new oil and gas licences in response to the climate crisis.