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"Who voted for this?" Greenpeace protesters disrupt PM's speech as she tells security 'let's get them removed'
5 October 2022, 16:04 | Updated: 5 October 2022, 16:21
Liz Truss’s keynote speech at the Tory conference was disrupted by a group of climate activists calling for ‘U-turns’ on environmental issues and accusing her of ‘shredding’ her party’s election manifesto promises.
Greenpeace UK’s head of public affairs Rebecca Newsom, and policy officer Ami McCarthy, stood up during the speech holding a banner reading: “Who voted for this?”
They were booed and the banner was snatched from their hands - only for the two women to pull out another identical banner.
Liz Truss heckled by Greenpeace during Party Conference speech
Ms Truss could be heard saying “let’s get them removed,” as security guards tried to grab the banner away from the women and remove their lanyards.
Greenpeace said it had identified at least seven areas where the Tories had broken their 2019 manifesto pledges.
They accused the Tories of “U-turning on fracking, strong climate action, and world-leading environmental protections.”
“Who voted for this?” the group posted on Twitter.
Rebecca Newsom told reporters: "We feel very confident that the vast majority of the public and indeed many members of the public who even voted for the Conservative Party are going to be sympathetic to the message we took inside that conference hall today."
She added: "I think we have a lot of support for putting that message forward and it is our role to hold the Government to account."
Fellow protestor Ami McCarthy said they would "keep doing it".
Ms Newsom added: “People voted for strong action on climate, a fracking moratorium, world-leading environmental protections, and tackling poverty and inequality. What they’re getting instead is fracking, a potential bonfire of rules on wildlife and nature protection, and now the prospect of benefit cuts.
“Broken promise after broken promise, the prime minister is quickly turning her party’s manifesto into the longest piece of false advertising ever written. Many will be left wondering whether her government answers to the public or to the hedge fund managers, rightwing thinktanks and fossil fuel giants that are cheering it on.
“The chancellor said the government is now listening. If so, they may want to pay attention to the widening chorus of leading businesses, energy experts, former Conservative ministers and even the US president telling them to go in the opposite direction,” she said.
The under-pressure pound fell against the US dollar following the speech from Ms Truss.
Sterling had initially hit a three-week high against the dollar in early session trading, but soon slipped back amid ongoing fears over the Government's credibility and edged further lower, down nearly 1% at 1.136 US dollars, following the Prime Minister's conference speech.
Ms Truss tried to make a joke of the protest as she continued with her speech, telling party members at the conference: "Now, later on in my speech, my friends, I am going to talk about the anti-growth coalition but I think they arrived in the hall a bit too early."
Deputy Prime Minister Therese Coffey said it was "disappointing" that the speech had been interrupted. Jacob Rees-Mogg also said that the Prime Minister had responded "with humour and charm".
Ms Newsom, speaking to reporters after being thrown out of the speech, said: "This year we really felt we needed to make an intervention because nobody actually voted for a lot of what Liz Truss and her Government are trying to do at the moment.
"Nobody voted for fracking, nobody voted to cut benefits, nobody voted to trash nature, nobody voted to scrap workers' rights.
"There's a whole host of things that the Conservative Government were elected to do in 2019 that they are simply not doing and we needed to take that message and represent the public and actually push for Liz Truss to remain true to what the public has actually asked her and her Government to do."
Both protesters said they were "hopeful" that the Government would remain committed to net zero, but that its policy was currently heading in the wrong direction.
Ms McCarthy said: "With policies like the ones she's suggesting, a focus on fracking, a focus on North Sea oil and gas, it's absolutely not the right direction."