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PM insists M25 eco-protesters do not do 'any favours to their cause'
20 September 2021, 14:11 | Updated: 20 September 2021, 16:54
Insulate Britain activists blocking the M25 do not do "any favours to their cause", Boris Johnson has said as motorists are hit by another day of disruption.
The Prime Minister issued criticism of the protesters on a flight to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he will urge world leaders to spend more in the fight against the climate crisis.
Campaigners resumed their M25 protest - which caused severe disruption last week - on Monday, sparking clashes with furious drivers. The group is demanding government action on home insulation.
Mr Johnson told reporters on board the RAF Voyager: "We are taking powers to be able to remove protesters when they are threatening critical national infrastructure, when they are threatening to cause serious economic damage and I think that is entirely right."
"And no, I don't think these people do any favours to their cause. I think that what they do is detract from a very important moral mission that is widely shared now by the people of this country."
However, the PM acknowledged he has not always shared that same moral mission while addressing criticism of his new International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
He insisted she would do an "outstanding job" in the role despite her past remarks rejecting the science of climate change between 2010 and 2012, including saying: "We aren't getting hotter, global warming isn't actually happening."
Mr Johnson, a former journalist, said: "I don't want to encourage you but if you were to excavate some of my articles from 20 years ago you might find comments I made obiter dicta (past remarks) about climate change that weren't entirely supportive of the current struggle.
"But the facts change and people change their minds and change their views and that's very important too."
Critics of his government have raised concerns that plans to hand police more powers over controlling protests could clamp down on freedom of expression and the right to protest.