James Cleverly slams 'attention-seeking middle-class' vegan activists

James Cleverly slams ‘attention-seeking middle-class’ vegan activists who pour milk on shop floors – and suggests black or working-class boys would suffer greater condemnation if they did it

  • Foreign Secretary said protesters would be condemned more if they were black 
  • James Cleverly, 53, said protests are by ‘attention-seeking middle-class people’
  • He said reaction would be different if they were ‘working-class’ or ‘black boys’ 
  • On Saturday vegan extremists poured milk on the floor in British supermarkets 

James Cleverly has slammed ‘attention-seeking middle-class’ vegan activists who pour milk on shop floors and suggested that protesters who were black or working class would be treated with much greater condemnation.

The Tory politician told Times Radio: ‘I’m seeing people who are disrupting the lives of others. When people pour milk all over the floor of a shop, guess who has to clear that up? It’s hard-working people, often not very, very well paid.’

The Foreign Secretary’s comments come after vegan extremists targeted upmarket stores across the country on Saturday, with their activists grabbing milk from shelves and dumping it over the floors and counters. 

The same day, two Just Stop Oil climate activists appeared in court accused of throwing soup on a Van Gogh painting at the National Gallery. 

Mr Cleverly said: ‘When people deface, vandalise — and it is vandalism — incredibly significant cultural works of art, business and public property, if they weren’t and I have to say attention-seeking middle-class people, I think the general condemnation would be a lot harder.

‘If these were working-class boys, as I say, black boys from Lewisham or working-class boys from Wolverhampton, I think that it would be treated as criminality and nothing more. 

‘And I think that giving this kind of behaviour some kind of implicit acceptance because of who’s conducting it, I think is completely inappropriate, we should see it for what it is — this is criminal damage and that’s how it should be treated.’

James Cleverly, 53, said protests are being held by ‘attention-seeking middle-class people’

Police have made a number of arrests after members of Just Stop Oil blocked traffic in one of central London’s busiest roads this morning

Two people who had been at height on the Dartford Crossing were brought down and arrested

Morgan Trowland and Marcus Carambola were taken down from the Dartford Bridge and arrested yesterday afternoon after a ‘super cherry picker’ arrived at the scene

From left: Phoebe Plummer and Anna Holland protesting at the National Gallery for Just Stop Oil

Braverman attacks ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ over Just Stop Oil protests

The Home Secretary has attacked the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

Suella Braverman hit out at MPs who voted against tough new measures to strengthen police powers to deal with activists more quickly.

Addressing the Commons as MPs debated the Public Order Bill, Mrs Braverman said: ‘I’m afraid it’s the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati – dare I say, the anti-growth coalition – that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads today.’

Her comments came as police arrested two Just Stop Oil protesters who spent 36 hours suspended from the QEII bridge, closing a major transport link between Kent and Essex due to safety fears.

In response Just Stop Oil laid the blame at the door of the Government, saying it has the power to stop the protests already. 

It wrote on Twitter: ‘You can blame Just Stop Oil’s disruption wholly and entirely on your own Government, for all it would take to get us off the roads is to ban new oil and gas.’

More than 450 Just Stop Oil activists have been arrested since they began disruption in and around London on October 1.

The Public Order Bill cleared the Commons last night and will now have further scrutiny in the Lords.

Parts of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill were defeated this year, meaning criminalising locking-on – when demonstrators attach themselves to each other, landmarks or infrastructure – was removed.

This morning Just Stop Oil caused more traffic chaos after stopping vehicles on the A4 Cromwell Road outside the Natural History Museum as the environmental group continues its month of protest.

Around 30 activists walked into the carriageway at the junction with Exhibition Road at 9.40am before gluing themselves to the road surface and using lock-ons.

Yesterday two activists were arrested for spending 37 hours in the air after climbing up the Dartford Bridge, forcing police to close the busy road for one-and-a-half days. 

Home Secretary Suella Braverman attacked the ‘tofu-eating wokerati’ for effectively preventing police from arresting eco-zealots who have caused mayhem and misery during weeks of protest.

Addressing the Commons as MPs debated the Public Order Bill, Mrs Braverman said yesterday: ‘I’m afraid it’s the Labour Party, it’s the Lib Dems, it’s the coalition of chaos, it’s the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati – dare I say, the anti-growth coalition – that we have to thank for the disruption we are seeing on our roads.’ 

The Public Order Bill cleared the Commons last night and will now have further scrutiny in the Lords. 

The Home Office said the proposed major piece of legislation would create a new criminal offence of interfering with infrastructure such as oil refineries, airports, railways and printing presses. Such an offence would carry a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison, an unlimited fine, or both. 

On Saturday, Mrs Braverman slammed climate and vegan activists as ‘thugs’ in a blistering attack in which she also criticised the Metropolitan Police and told them to ‘do a better job’.

She lambasted protesters for their ‘imagined right to bully’ the rest of the public, adding: ‘Who do they think they are?’

It followed a 15th successive day of protests by Just Stop Oil, who blocked roads in central London again, and more protests by vegan activists Animal Rebellion.

Mrs Braverman labelled the climate activists ‘so-called protesters’ and added that ‘democracies reach decisions in a civilised manner.’

Her criticism wasn’t just reserved for the activists themselves, she also issued a stark warning to the police: ‘I also expect the Metropolitan Police to do a better job of cracking down on these thugs and vandals – as does the public.’

Referring to activists such as those from Just Stop Oil and Insulate Britain, she said protesters who glue themselves to the road are ‘wildy irresponsible, idiotic, and risking lives.’ 

A sharply-dressed eco-warrior grimly pours a bottle of milk all over the floor of Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly as they protest dairy products

Supporters of Animal Rebellion dump litres of milk onto a Marks and Spencers floor as they demand a ‘plant-based future’ from the government

The meat counter at Harrods was targeted by the zealots, who object to animal-based products such as meat and milk

One of the Just Stop Oil activists who threw soup over Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ at the National Gallery in London has said it was ‘ridiculous’.

Phoebe Plummer, 21, said the protest was designed to ‘get the conversation going’ and there was no risk to the painting.

Speaking to FreeSeedNews, the activist, who also glued herself to the wall during the demonstration, said: ‘ I would like to make one thing perfectly clear – we did no damage to the painting whatsoever.

She said there had been ‘minimal damage to the frame’ which is ‘repairable and replaceable’.

‘It was behind glass and we never ever would have considered doing it if we didn’t know it was behind glass so that we wouldn’t do any damage,’ she said.

‘We were sat there still glued to the wall, they wiped it off with a bit of kitchen roll. 

‘I recognise that it looks like a slightly ridiculous action. I agree, it is ridiculous. 

‘But, we are not asking the question ‘should everybody throw soup on paintings?’ 

‘What we are doing is getting the conversation going so we can ask the questions that matter. 

‘Questions like ‘is it ok that Liz Truss is licensing over 100 new fossil fuel licences?’

‘This is the conversation we need to be having now because we don’t have time to waste.’

Plummer and fellow protester Anna Holland prompted global outrage with their protest at the National Gallery in London on Friday.

They were subsequently arrested and have been charged with criminal damage to the frame of the painting. 

They both pleaded not guilty when appearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court earlier this week, with a trial set for December 13 at City of London Magistrates’ Court.

Animal Rebellion has dubbed its protests against animal products as ‘Milk Pours’, and posted videos of the group at Harrods in west London, Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly, and a Waitrose in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The young and well-dressed eco-hipsters spouted out their shrill demands for the government to ensure farmers transition to a ‘plant-based future’.

The group co-ordinated the actions across multiple stores such as Waitrose, Whole Foods and Marks and Spencer throughout the country, including in London, Norwich, Manchester and Edinburgh, as horrified shoppers watched on. 

In a video of a ‘milk pour’ at a Marks and Spencers in Manchester, a man was heard telling the protesters: ‘Plant-based future? Take your shoes off then, they’re not plant-based.’ 

The meat counter at Harrods was targeted by the eco mob, while in Fortnum & Mason — two of London’s poshest shops — the cheese counter was vandalised.

Animal Rebellion said it is calling for a plant-based future and highlighting the need to support farmers in transitioning to a sustainable plant-based food system.

Skylar Sharples, an international development University of Sussex graduate, from Bristol and one of the protesters at Harrods, said: ‘Supporters of Animal Rebellion are back acting because (Prime Minister) Liz Truss and Ranil Jayawardena (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) are again deciding to ignore calls to start building a better future. 

‘A plant-based future would see a beautiful world for us all, thriving with nature and life.

‘The steps to properly support farmers in this transition need to begin now.’

Lou Hadden, a charity worker from Herefordshire who joined the action at Fortnum and Mason, said: ‘This is not how I imagined spending my weekend.

‘Unfortunately, this disruption is necessary to get those in power to listen to the academics at Oxford, Harvard and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

‘The world’s best climate and land scientists are calling for the transition to a plant-based food system.

‘We need bold and decisive politics at this time, not the horror show we currently see.’

‘Milk Pours are currently happening across the UK. All are concerned individuals calling on the government to give us a livable future, a #PlantBasedFuture,’ Animal Rebellion on Saturday afternoon.

‘Animal Rebellion supporters have just poured out milk across the floor and over other dairy products at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly,’ came another tweet. 

‘We are calling on the government to support farmers in a transition to a plant-based food system.’ 

‘The dairy companies are responsible for the majority of methane emissions,’ one protester shouted out as she busily poured milk onto the floor in the Waitrose milk aisle.

The eco-mob hit a Waitrose in Edinburgh, targeting upmarket stores as they call for a transition to a plant-based future

Eco-protesters in Manchester poured milk all over the floor beside the meat aisle in Marks and Spencers

Protesters strike at Harrods as bemused and nonplussed Saturday shoppers watch or try to get on with their shopping

A pair of protesters march up to the milk aisle in a Waitrose in Edinbrugh and proceed to systematically pour out gallons of milk onto the floor

One bystander approaches an eco-zealot to remonstrate with her while she was in the midst of a rant against the dairy industry

Shoppers looked over as protesters poured out cartons of milk onto the floor of Marks and Spencers in Manchester

A shopper looks frustrated as protesters empty gallons of milk onto the floor of a Marks and Spencers 

Protesters raid the cheese section of upmarket Fortnum & Mason’s in Piccadilly, grabbing milk and pouring it out onto the shop floor

Sofia Fernandes Pontes (right) from Madeira and Steve Bone (left) from Essex, the duo who poured out milk over the two high-end London department stores in a protest against dairy products, were arrested by police

She was interrupted by a bystander coming up to remonstrate with her. 

‘We’re all about peaceful protests and non-violence, we’re just calling out the injustice of the industry,’ she said to the man, before continuing.

The same group struck Selfridges and Fortnum & Masons just two weeks ago when activists from the group sparked fury by pouring milk over the two high-end London department stores in a protest against dairy products.

Two people were arrested by the Metropolitan Police following the stunt.

Last month the Animal Rebellion protesters arrived at dawn to block shipments of milk and other dairy products at Arla and Muller plants.

The vegan protesters, who oppose animal farming, stopped company trucks before climbing on to them, as others trespassed company facilities, scaling milk silos and loading bays. 

The blockade included the UK’s biggest dairy distribution centre near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, which is owned by Arla, plus three plants run by Muller – at Droitwich, Severnside and Bridgwater.

The protest group, an off-shoot of Extinction Rebellion, admitted defying a High Court injunction obtained by Arla to stop the protests. 

The group (pictured) scaled Silos in an attempt to disrupt distribution on September 4

At the Aylesbury Arla site the group stopped lorries and climbed on top to halt the delivery of milk

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