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GMB host Richard Madeley accuses M25 eco-mob of ‘fascism’ for ‘blocking out reality’

Richard Madeley today accused the M25 eco mob of ‘fascism’ for ‘blocking out reality’ in an angry clash with an activist – as motorists trying to haul away protesters were called ‘heroes’ amid anger at the slow police response. 

Electrician Liam Norton, 36, who did not take part in the protest but was one of the organisers, went head to head with the Good Morning Britain host this morning as he attempted to justify the disruptive roadblocks as a means of protecting the planet. 

He said: ‘Why do you think grannies are on the road yesterday? Why do you think that’s happening? This is the way that has been proven to force the government to act… the government is not looking after their citizens, Richard.’

But Mr Madeley rejected the argument, saying: ‘You’re blocking out reality, aren’t you? You’re only seeing one aspect of reality. You’re ignoring the reality of the individual. 

‘You’re seeing the reality of the state, and that’s fine, but you’re seeing it at the expense of the reality of the individual, and that’s fascism, I’m afraid.’

Police then tackled the driver as people took to social media to praise him and criticise the officers who dragged him away 

An irate driver who had enough of the queues on the M25 took the matter into his own hands yesterday and began moving protesters with links to XR and grabbing their banners

An irate driver who had enough of the queues on the M25 took the matter into his own hands yesterday and began moving protesters with links to XR and grabbing their banners

A second video showed another motorist trying to clear protesters at junction 20 of the M25 at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, leading some people to call him a 'hero' - although others warned about the dangers of vigilantism

A second video showed another motorist trying to clear protesters at junction 20 of the M25 at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, leading some people to call him a ‘hero’ – although others warned about the dangers of vigilantism

Do you know the motorists who tried to clear the road themselves?

The failure of police to immediately arrest climate change protesters who blocked five junctions of the M25 for up to four hours sparked fury yesterday as a video emerged of officers protecting the law-breaking activists while dragging away an irate and incredulous driver who decided to take the law into his own hands. 

The unnamed motorist tried to pull activists off the sliproad, believed to be at junction three for Swanley, Kent, as another man repeatedly yells at a policeman: ‘I just don’t understand why you won’t move them’.

The driver trying to break-up the protest and tear down banners was then dragged away by officers who then returned to guarding the members of Insulate Britain, a new offshoot of Extinction Rebellion.  

A second video showed another motorist trying to clear protesters at junction 20 of the M25 at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, leading some people to call him a ‘hero’ – although others warned about the dangers of vigilantism. 

There was also disruption and long queues at junction six for Godstone in Surrey, 14 for London Heathrow Airport, 20 for Kings Langley in Hertfordshire and 31 for Purfleet in Essex near the Dartford Crossing. There have been 92 arrests so far.

Surrey Police arrested 35 activists yesterday for a range of offences including highway obstruction – but all have now been released. A total of 15 were released on conditional bail while the rest were released pending investigation. 

No one has yet been charged, with the force saying they are collecting witness testimonies and dashcam footage to ‘progress the investigation’. 

Today, Insulate Britain confirmed that electrician Liam Norton was not among those arrested yesterday.  

Richard Madeley clashing with Insulate Britain protester Liam Norton, 36, on GMB today

Richard Madeley clashing with Insulate Britain protester Liam Norton, 36, on GMB today 

GMB host Richard Madeley accuses M25 eco-mob of 'fascism' for 'blocking out reality'

Steve Gower, 54, pictured in a 'Team Corbyn' T-shirt from Gloucester, is one of the ringleaders of yesterday's protests

Steve Gower, 54, pictured in a ‘Team Corbyn’ T-shirt from Gloucester, is one of the ringleaders of yesterday’s protests

M25 protest leader is unemployed member of ‘Team Corbyn’ who was recently fined £267 for dropping cigarette while rushing to the Jobcentre 

A ringleader of the M25 protests was an unemployed Corbynite eco-warrior recently fined for tossing a cigarette outside his local Jobcentre because he was late for his appointment, MailOnline can reveal today.

Of the senior members of Insulate Britain, only Steve Gower, 54, from Gloucester, has been involved in the action. He was arrested, the organisation said. They also said that 90 people took part in today’s action and 78 of them were arrested.

Mr Gower, who is unemployed but describes himself as a volunteer advocate for the homeless in his home city, is also an active Unite union campaigner.

Last summer he was ordered to pay £267 by a magistrate after he dropped a cigarette in the street while visiting the Job Centre.

Mr Gower said that the fine spiralled because he couldn’t afford the reduced fine of £75 and was told there was no opportunity to pay in instalments. 

Magistrates fined him £100 and ordered him to pay costs of £135 and a surcharge of £42.

He had dropped in Southgate Street by an employee of Gloucester City Council but didn’t do so and was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £100 on Monday September 9 2019. 

In a statement read to the court Mr Gower said: ‘On the way I rolled a cigarette and began smoking it, but when I realised the time I panicked about my appointment at the job centre and hastened my speed.

‘About 20 yards from the entrance I was tapped on my shoulder and asked if I knew I dropped a cigarette.

‘The official then started filling out paperwork and I asked ‘Will this take long?’. I then told him he’d better follow me into the job centre so I wouldn’t be sanctioned for being late. He interviewed me inside the job centre and gave me a copy of what he had written. I was so stressed at the time.’ 

Obstruction of a British road ‘without lawful authority or excuse’ is an offence under Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980, with a punishment of a fine and up to six months in prison. Yet at Junction 14 of the M25, close to Heathrow, it took four hours to arrest the activists and reopen the road at one of the busiest stretches of motorway in the UK.

With police again accused of being too scared of tackling climate change activists, one critic tweeted: ‘Public servants stand by while the public do the job they are paid for. This bl**dy country at times is just beyond. They were happy to arrest people for going for a walk or stopping on a bench for a coffee’. 

Another wrote: ‘If the police won’t enforce the law then that leaves no choice but to do it ourselves. These climate change imbeciles have no legal basis upon which to block the highway especially as such nonsense could potentially hold up emergency services and cost lives’.

Officers from Kent, Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire and the Metropolitan Police dealt with the incidents that caused delays of up to four hours at rush hour. Many questioned why it took up until Midday to break-up protests that began at 8am. 

A former chief constable said the protest was ‘extraordinarily dangerous’, while motorists – some of whom were stuck in traffic for three hours with young children – said it was ‘madness’, with one urging police: ‘Move them.’

The Metropolitan Police said it took action ‘to ensure disruption was minimised’ while the Hertfordshire force insisted it ‘quickly mobilised resources to the scene’.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘This action is not only incredibly dangerous in potentially putting lives at risk, but it also backfires in environmental terms by causing more delays and more vehicle emissions.

‘These are some of the busiest sections of the M25 where tens of thousands of drivers will have been affected and it has a negative knock-on effect on economic activity.’

A Surrey Police spokesman said: ‘We were called to Junction 6 and Junction 14 of the motorway just after 8am following reports that a number of people were protesting on behalf of Insulate Britain.

‘A total of 35 people were arrested on suspicion of various offences, including public nuisance, obstructing the highway and conspiracy to cause danger to road users. They were taken to custody, with 15 released on conditional bail while the rest have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.’       

 

 

Farmer Roger Hallam, 55, who helped found Extinction Rebellion before leaving to joining protest organiser Insulate Britain (pictured at a Heathrow protest)

IT project manager Janine Eagling, 60, from London, helped to block the M25 and A13 junction yesterday

Farmer Roger Hallam, 55, who helped found Extinction Rebellion before leaving to joining protest organiser Insulate Britain (pictured left at a Heathrow protest). Janine Eagling, 60, (right) helped to block the M25 and A13 junction yesterday

Liam Norton

Zoe Cohen

Liam Norton (left), 36, an electrician; and Zoe Cohen (right), 51, a self-employed mother, are both part of Insulate Britain

Puppeteer and business guru… activists behind stunt

ORGANIC FARMER

Roger Hallam, 55, helped set up XR but left to advise Insulate Britain, which launched this summer. The organic farmer wants to ‘bring down all the regimes in the world’, starting with Britain, and believes those running society ‘should have a bullet through their heads’. There have been allegations of a ‘cult-like’ following for the Welshman who compares his tactics to those of heroic activists Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He is said to have been inspired to take up climate activism after his farm in Wales went bust due to bad weather.

PUPPETEER

David McKenny, 38, from Cambridge, was one of six XR protesters who ‘doorstepped’ TV wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough, 95, at the height of pandemic after he criticised their tactics. The group posted a letter through Sir David’s door as he isolated due to his age last year. Mr McKenny was jailed for 14 days for contempt after he glued himself to the dock and filmed officials at City of London Magistrates’ Court in April. The community musician has taught puppeteering at the Royal Northern College of Music and performed it at Bath Spa University.

ELECTRICIAN

Liam Norton, 36, a London electrician who helped organise the protest, said he was ‘shocked at the lack of significant action from our Government’. He became involved in climate activism in 2018 when he helped blockade five bridges in the capital and went on to join XR’s ‘actions team’, which is responsible for planning civil disobedience. He was  convicted over blocking printing presses last year. He delayed court proceedings by gluing himself to a table. It took three hours for police to remove him and the stunt is thought to have cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

BUSINESS COACH

Zoe Cohen, 51, from Lymm, Cheshire, called yesterday for ‘real action’ from ministers. The vegan business coach was involved in XR’s takeover of central London last month. She said then: ‘We are more scared of the reality of what this system is doing to ending life on Earth and ending our future and our children’s future than we are of spending a night in a cell.’ She describes herself as a ‘carbon literate coach’ and ‘XR catalyser’ on social media.

IT EXPERT

Janine Eagling, 60, from London, helped to block the M25 and A13 junction yesterday. She has been involved with XR since 2018, helping to form blockades across Waltham Forest. The IT project manager describes herself online as a ‘world citizen’ and ‘rebel’ as well as a cyclist, walker and gardener. She has overseen IT projects at top universities and was part of a campaign to improve safety for cyclists in the capital.

HS2 TREE CLIMBER  

Joining the M25 road blockage by Eli Rose, 26, who spent 16 days in a tree last September to protest the HS2 rail link. 

Ms Rose lived in the tree in Parliament Square because she ‘cannot bear’ knowing her potential future children will be born ‘into a 

The mob included an organic farmer who compares himself to Mahatma Gandhi, a puppeteer, a vegan ‘business coach’ and a ‘rebel’ IT project manager. 

Farmer Roger Hallam, 55, who helped found Extinction Rebellion before leaving to joining protest organiser Insulate Britain, wants to ‘bring down all the regimes in the world’, starting with Britain, and believes those running society ‘should have a bullet through their heads’. 

There have been allegations of a ‘cult-like’ following for the Welshman who compares his tactics to those of heroic activists Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He is said to have been inspired to take up climate activism after his farm in Wales went bust due to bad weather. 

Ironically, Mr Hallam owns a farmhouse which was described as ‘poorly insulated’ in an official energy performance certificate. His 2,000 sq ft farmhouse in Carmarthen, South Wales, was given the lowest possible energy rating on the certificate. It is unclear if Mr Hallam has taken steps to improve the rating since it was issued six years ago.

Asked about the certificate last night, a spokesman for the group said: ‘This is the point – UK homes are the leakiest in Europe, with many millions of families being unable to afford the advice and help needed to insulate the building they live in.’

Joining Mr Hallam was David McKenny, 38, from Cambridge, who was one of six XR protesters who ‘doorstepped’ TV wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough, 95, at the height of pandemic after he criticised their tactics. The group posted a letter through Sir David’s door as he isolated due to his age last year. 

Vegan business coach Zoe Cohen, 51, from Lymm, Cheshire, said she joined yesterday’s action to demand ‘real action’ from ministers. She was involved in XR’s takeover of central London last month. 

Ms Cohen said then: ‘We are more scared of the reality of what this system is doing to ending life on Earth and ending our future and our children’s future than we are of spending a night in a cell.’ She describes herself as a ‘carbon literate coach’ and ‘XR catalyser’ on social media. 

Janine Eagling, 60, from London, helped to block the M25 and A13 junction yesterday. She has been involved with XR since 2018, helping to form blockades across Waltham Forest. 

The IT project manager describes herself online as a ‘world citizen’ and ‘rebel’ as well as a cyclist, walker and gardener. She has overseen IT projects at top universities and was part of a campaign to improve safety for cyclists in the capital. 

Liam Norton, 36, a London electrician who helped organise the protest, said he was ‘shocked at the lack of significant action from our Government’. 

He became involved in climate activism in 2018 when he helped blockade five bridges in the capital and went on to join XR’s ‘actions team’, which is responsible for planning civil disobedience. He was convicted over blocking printing presses last year. 

He delayed court proceedings by gluing himself to a table. It took three hours for police to remove him and the stunt is thought to have cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds.

Today he told Good Morning Britain: ‘The government is not looking after their citizens. We are. We’ve got a plan to insulate Britain that gives you the best value for money in terms of reducing emissions. Hundreds of thousand of meaningful jobs will be created.’

 

Eli Rose (pictured), 26, spent 16 days in a tree last September to protest the HS2 rail link. Ms Rose lived in the tree in Parliament Square because she 'cannot bear' knowing her potential future children will be born 'into a world where they will have to battle through food shortages and drought'

Eli Rose (pictured), 26, spent 16 days in a tree last September to protest the HS2 rail link. Ms Rose lived in the tree in Parliament Square because she ‘cannot bear’ knowing her potential future children will be born ‘into a world where they will have to battle through food shortages and drought’

Another protester, Steve Gower, 54, from Gloucester, is unemployed but describes himself as a volunteer advocate for the homeless and is an active Unite union campaigner. 

Last summer Gower was ordered to pay £267 by a magistrate after he dropped a cigarette in the street while visiting a Jobcentre. He said that the fine spiralled because he couldn’t afford the reduced fine of £75 and was told there was no opportunity to pay in instalments.  

He was joined at the M25 road blockage by Eli Rose, 26, who spent 16 days in a tree last September to protest the HS2 rail link. 

Ms Rose lived in the tree in Parliament Square because she ‘cannot bear’ knowing her potential future children will be born ‘into a world where they will have to battle through food shortages and drought.’    

Do you know the motorists who tried to clear the road themselves? Email [email protected] 

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