Image Credit: Patrick Walker
At the Extinction Rebellion protest today, Nouse talked briefly with Shadow Transport Minister and MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell to discuss her reasons for attending the rally, and her frustration at Parliament’s prorogation during Brexit. Our full coverage of the protest is available here.
Why have you joined students and schoolchildren in protesting today?
Well, the energy in St Helen’s square is absolutely incredible. Young people have just walked out of class to come here, and it’s absolutely vital that I’m here, not just to listen to what young people are saying, but to join alongside, and do my bit too. We have a climate emergency, we’ve got a crisis that is happening across the planet, and unless we all step up and act, then clearly, we are going to lose the most precious thing to us.
We have real threats from floods, famine, and conflict across the world. As a politician, I’ve got a real responsibility to make sure climate is front and centre of every single agenda, and that’s why as Shadow Transport Minister, I will ensure that we implement the plans we have to get our country onto public transport, walking and cycling, and not in their cars.
You held a ‘People’s Parliament’ in this very square a few weeks ago, are you frustrated to not be in the real Parliament right now debating the issue?
Absolutely, and this is why I said it’s an absolute disgrace that Parliament has been shut down: we should be discussing climate change, if not Brexit. The fact that we are being silenced means that we have got to take to the streets and make sure that our voices are heard in different ways. Direct action, whatever it takes to get change in our country, by pressuring business as well as government. We have to do all we can.
Business, Energy, and Clean Growth Minister** Kwasi Kwarteng refused to endorse children participating in this protest today: do you see the government listening to the protests?**
If the current government don’t listen, then we will give them that message at the ballot box. That’s the reality. I believe in the power of people, and the people, particularly the young, will have their say. We will change the whole basis of what is happening to our climate and the way we use energy in our country. Therefore, I have such hope in seeing hundreds and hundreds of people out today, and I am determined to bring about change.