Boris Johnson has branded protesters who have blocked major UK roads “irresponsible crusty”.
The prime minister said workers from Insulate Britain, who have blocked highways in the southeast in recent weeks, are “doing great damage to the economy”.
His remarks came after protesters clashed with motorists near the Blackwall Tunnel in east London on Monday, with a teary-eyed woman desperate to take her elderly mother to hospital.
Mr Johnson told the LBC: “There are some people who call those individuals legitimate protesters.
“They are not. I think they are irresponsible crusties who are basically trying to stop people from going about their day to day jobs and doing a lot of damage to the economy.
“So we have taken powers and why is Priti Patel doing the right thing to bring powers so that she can get six months or unlimited fine.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel in her Conservative Party convention speech reaffirmed plans for tougher powers against Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion.
She said: “It is because of our commitment to putting the needs of the hard-working, often silent, majority first that I cannot tolerate so-called eco-warriors trampling our way of life and draining police resources.” I will
“His actions in recent weeks have amounted to some of the most self-defeating ‘environmental’ protests this country has ever seen. Freedom to protest is a fundamental right that our party will always struggle to uphold. But it is Should be within the ambit of law.
“Measures already going through Parliament will ensure that these criminals can be brought to justice for the disruption they are causing. But we are going further to address the legal loopholes exploited by these criminals.
“Therefore, today, I can announce that I will also increase the maximum penalty for obstructing a motorway, criminalizing interference with major infrastructure such as roads, railways and our free press, and freeing the police and courts from minorities.” Will give new powers to deal with criminals intending to travel across the country, causing disruption and misery in our communities.”
Protesters from Insulate Britain have blocked major roads, including the M25 and M4, in recent weeks.
A court injunction was taken out to stop their blockade of the M25, but demonstrations continue, most recently on Monday in streets across London.
Ms Patel also confirmed an expansion in the testing of drug suspects upon arrest in all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
She told the conference: “Those who test positive as confirmed drug users will be supported to combat their drug abuse and regain their independence.
“But those unwilling to address their drug abuse will face the harshest legal sanctions and consequences.”
Additional reporting by the Press Association
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /