Exclusive: Eco protester reveals he got hero's welcome in jail and would do it all again

7 January 2022, 08:11 | Updated: 7 January 2022, 09:54

Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

An Insulate Britain protester jailed for glueing himself to the M25 has told LBC he feels "emboldened" by his time in prison and is now willing to spend the rest of his life behind bars to achieve his climate change goals.

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Unrepentant engineering student Louis Mckechnie, 21, served half of a three-month sentence at HMP Thameside for breaching an injunction, and was released on New Year's Eve.

Despite being "terrified" by the prospect of jail, he claims they got a warm welcome from the other prisoners, who were "entertained" by the climate campaigners, and who promised to look out for them.

As a result of his time inside, he said he felt "emboldened" and was willing to risk it all over again, "if the stakes were high enough".

Mckechnie said: "My experience of prison has emboldened me to take any future action regardless of whether prison is a consequence."

Read more: Woman who 'nudged' Insulate Britain protester with 4X4 charged with assault

Read more: Second group of Insulate Britain activists could face jail for disruptive M25 protests

If Insulate Britain restarted their actions, breaching injunctions to block another motorway, he said he would "be there".

He added: "Absolutely. I feel that if we were able to save these 8,000 to 30,000 lives that are lost every year to fuel poverty, I'd spend the rest of my life in prison for that."

Mckechnie also said the group were prepared to "escalate" their actions, if the current methods of blocking roads and motorways fails to force the Government to bend to their demands to insulate all homes in Britain by 2030.

"I see the only way that these protests will stop is when our demands are met," Mckechnie said.

"When the Government acts on the climate crisis, acts on fuel poverty and stands up for its own people."

He added: "I can't tell you what our next action will be, but I can tell you it will be non-violent."

The 21-year-old was one of nine Insulate Britain protesters taken to court after causing chaos on the M25 throughout 2021.

All nine admitted to breaching an injunction while blockading junction 25 of the motorway on October 8, during a High Court hearing.

Mckechnie previously said in a statement that the Government's decision to imprison members of the group would show their "cowardice".

He said: "They will lock us up and leave thousands to die of cold this winter, and millions to face climate chaos in the coming decades."

It comes as Insulate Britain has been pushing for the Government to "insulate Britain’s homes to save thousands of lives and prevent economic and social collapse", amid growing concern over global warming.

The group is calling for a national plan to be drawn up in order to tackle the ongoing crisis.

Additional reporting by Emma Soteriou