Insulate Britain: MPs 'trapped outside' of Parliament as activists glue themselves to roads

Insulate Britain protesters blocked off access to the Peers' entrance to Parliament. Credit: PA

Insulate Britain has blocked two major roads around London's Parliament Square with activists gluing themselves to the road and holding banners in its latest round of protests.

The group said 62 activists sat on the ground on Thursday morning on the south east of Parliament Square, on Bridge Street, and blocked the Peers’ entrance to the Houses of Parliament. Around 30 of them glued themselves to the floor.

Footage shared on social media shows one protester climbing on top of a police van holding an Insulate Britain banner, while another appeared to glue his hand to a police vehicle.

Conservative MPs Darren Henry, for Broxtowe, and Adam Afriyie, for Windsor, were unable to enter Parliament and participate in transport questions because they were “trapped outside” due to the group's efforts.

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said it is “totally unacceptable” Insulate Britain are “interfering with democracy” and it was a "tragedy" that constituents of Broxtowe and Windsor will not be represented.

He said: "The fact that people are actually talking about the same issues and being blocked from doing so is totally counterproductive.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the group's actions were "completely unacceptable" and that 475 injunctions have been served to protesters at their homes for contempt of court.

He said 32 are due to appear in court, while nine will appear later this month.

So far, more than 800 people have been arrested in association with the group's campaign, which calls for the government to insulate all UK homes by 2030 to cut carbon emissions.

A protester with their hand glued to the road Credit: James Manning/PA

He warned: “Contempt of court can lead to unlimited fines, and prison sentences. And we will be acting where the law has a gap in it through the Police and Crime Bill to resolve the gap that has led to this.”

London-based protester Paul Sheeky, who was glued to the pavement, said getting a fine is a "walk in the park" in comparison to the climate crisis.

He said: “The death and destruction that is on its way unless we tackle this issue is just beyond imagining. A slight discomfort now is a small price to pay for saving lives in the future.”

“We have been out on the road now for several weeks and a lot of the time the drivers say to us ‘this is not the right way to be doing this, go to Parliament, protest there'," he added.

“We thought we would take that advice and give it a go.

"We know from protesting in Parliament in the past it doesn’t work, which is why we have to protest on the roads, but we thought we would come here all together as a show of unity just to say, yes we are going to keep going.”

The group's campaign has brought misery to motorists since September 13, with many stuck in long queues of traffic during rush hour.

Peter Anthony-Gord, a bus driver with Abellio London Bus who was waiting 34 minutes this morning, said: “I don’t think they are doing this properly. I really think there is a better way to do this.

Protesters from Insulate Britain block Great George Street in Parliament Square, central London Credit: James Manning/PA

"There are ways of insulating Britain which you can do with other sources, other people, companies, private finance etc rather than causing absolute chaos in London. This is not going to insulate one home sitting here.”

Rachel Speller, a bus driver’s wife, had walked to the front of the traffic to see what had happened after sitting on a bus with her husband, the driver, in the tailback along Whitehall.

She said: “It is just getting ridiculous now. Every other week there is some sort of protest and now they glue themselves to the floor.”

Earlier in the morning, the group published a statement reflecting on its protests hailing them "one of the most successful campaigns in history".

"Our name recognition went from zero to 77% of the public in three weeks, we have attracted enormous media interest and we have started thousands of conversations, in the press, on social media and in homes up and down the country," it said.

“Importantly, we have exposed the government’s refusal to act on home insulation as cowardly and vindictive and their refusal to protect our country and our children from the climate crisis as genocidal and treasonous.”

Insulate Britain’s latest protest follows demonstrations near London, Birmingham and Manchester earlier this week.

Around 60 demonstrators descended on junction 23 of the M25 near London, junction 6 of the M56 in Manchester and the A4400 in Birmingham.

Nine members of the group are due to appear at the High Court on November 16 after breaching a National Highways injunction.