A Labour council by-election candidate has defended signing a pledge by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion.
Bella Sankey, Labour candidate for the Wish ward by-election for Brighton and Hove City Council, was among 40 candidates to sign the group’s Three Demands Bill pledge ahead of the 2019 general election.
Ms Sankey contested the Arundel and South Downs constituency at the last general election.
The legislation proposed by the group would enshrine three central demands of the group:
- to tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency
- act to halt biodiversity loss and cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025
- and to be led by decisions made by a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.
Of the 40 to sign the pledge, 15 were elected to parliament.
Extinction Rebellion has been criticised for some of its direct action protests, particularly blocking roads and bridges to disrupt traffic.
Ms Sankey said: “Like me, most people in Brighton and Hove want action to protect our environment and I signed the pledge accordingly.
“Does that mean I agree with all the tactics that Extinction Rebellion has employed since then? No, of course not.
“But the Labour Party will never shy away from protecting our planet and we’re the only national party with the ability to take the robust action that’s needed.
“It’s disappointing the Conservatives are running such a negative campaign, but given that their party is riddled with climate change deniers, it is perhaps not surprising.”
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Conservatives said: “It goes to show how close Labour are to the Greens when their candidate had previously signed a pledge supporting Extinction Rebellion.”
The council by-election on December 8 was triggered by the death of Councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn, who had served the area for around five decades.
Five candidates are standing in the election this week; Patricia Mountain for the UK Independence Party, Peter Revell for the Conservative Party, Bella Sankey for Labour, Stewart Stone for the Liberal Democrats, and Ollie Sykes for the Green Party.
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