Just Stop Oil should be labelled a terrorist organisation, a Tory MP has said.
Gareth Johnson urged Rishi Sunak to make the environmental group a “proscribed” organisation, a term for groups involved in terrorism, at Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon.
The MP for Dartford accused the group’s activists of causing “misery and mayhem” through their protests, which have included blocking the Dartford Crossing and parts of the M25 in his constituency.
“These people are not protesters, they are criminals,” he said.
“Will the prime minister therefore consider making Just Stop Oil a proscribed organisation so that they can be treated as the criminal organisation they actually are?”
Mr Sunak agreed the protests had caused “mass misery for the public” and claimed they “put people in danger”.
But he did not go as far as agreeing with the MP’s suggestion, saying: “The police have our full support in their efforts to minimise this disruption and tackle reckless and illegal activity.
“The Public Order Bill will give them the powers they need.”
Proscribing an organisation is a measure available to the home secretary under the Terrorism Act 2000 if they think a group commits, participates, prepares, promotes or encourages terrorism.
It makes being a member of the group illegal, as well as “expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive of a proscribed organisation”, and can result in up to 14 years in prison and a fine.
There are 78 groups on the government’s list, including Islamic and far right extremists.
‘Extreme weather cannot be proscribed’
Just Stop Oil wants the government to commit to ending all new licenses and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK.
The group’s recent actions have attracted a lot of attention, after they staged four days of protests on the M25.
In all 63 people were arrested during the protest, with 58 later being charged.
A spokesperson from the group said: “Gareth Johnson is right to be cross about the disruption caused by supporters of Just Stop Oil – but as we saw in the floods, days after the M25 actions were halted, the terror and mayhem from extreme weather events cannot be arrested, injuncted or proscribed.
“But the government can end the disruption today, by following the advice of the United Nations, the International Energy Agency and the world’s scientists and ending new oil and gas.”
The spokesperson also said the members were “ordinary people who use all possible peaceful means to protect all they love”, adding: “Gareth Johnson needs to read some climate science, to face up to reality and then seek to protect his constituents by calling for the end to new oil and gas.”