Just Stop Oil claims it wasn't behind George Osborne wedding confetti stunt

The climate action group has denied interrupting the former chancellor's wedding

Just Stop Oil has claimed it was not behind a confetti throwing incident at former chancellor George Osborne's wedding.

The climate activist group had tweeted a video clip showing a mystery woman suddenly appearing and throwing orange confetti over Mr Osborne and his bride at their wedding on Saturday.

The couple turned as a woman carrying a Union flag paper bag sprinkled them with confetti, before fleeing as she was approached by security.

But James Skeet, a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, told LBC on Sunday morning the group was not behind the stunt.

Just Stop Oil's activism has been associated with the colour orange, as its environmental protesters frequently toss orange powder and paint at its targets, including at sporting events and art galleries, to raise awareness of the climate crisis.

Speaking to Paul Brand, the ITV News UK editor who also presents on LBC, Mr Skeet said the group had not organised the apparent protest at the former Tory chancellor's wedding.

Asked if he thought the group had crossed a line by interrupting an event as personal as a wedding, Mr Skeet said the story was "somewhat emblematic of the general failures of our media"

"Just Stop Oil did not disrupt George Osbourne's wedding," Mr Skeet said. "There's a video of a woman throwing orange confetti at a wedding, but she's not one of ours, I'm afraid."

He continued: "She doesn't represent Just Stop Oil."

Mr Skeet said the news media's resources should be focused on climate disasters such as the vast wildfires in Canada, rather than a confetti incident at a wedding.

He also criticised Mr Osborne's austerity record, telling Brand during the Sunday morning phone-in to LBC: "His legacy is the sustained economic collapse in this country, he is responsible for thousands of excess deaths.

Mr Skeet rejected the suggestion Just Stop Oil's tweet appeared to claim responsibility for the stunt, adding: "Actually what we've done there is wished them well," before pointing to Mr Osborne's economic policy record.

"He is the reason that we live in the smouldering cesspit that we find ourselves in. You are concerned about orange confetti being thrown at him - I'll remind you we just had the hottest June on record."

"The average temperature on this planet was not broken once, but twice this week."

Brand responded that both ITV News and LBC had covered the climate concerns sparked by the record temperatures this week extensively, and ITV News had sent reporters to cover major climate catastrophes abroad, such as devastating flooding in Pakistan

Pressed on whether he supported the confetti throwing, as a member of Just Stop Oil, Mr Skeet responded he had "no opinion on it."

He added: "I have no problem with confetti being thrown at a wedding" and was more interested in raising awareness of the government's economic record and climate issues.

In a statement released on Sunday, Just Stop Oil said the group did not have anything to do with the confetti incident.

Its statement read: "The lady who threw confetti in Bruton yesterday was upholding a tradition that is common across many cultures.  We absolutely defend the right for people to throw confetti (of whatever colour) at weddings and other celebrations. 

"If it was a form of protest (which is yet to be established) we applaud it and thank the person concerned. It was peaceful and not especially disruptive but got massive media attention for Just Stop Oil’s demand.

"It has also helped people to recall that George Osborne, one of the main architects of economic austerity, is directly responsible for over 300,000 excess deaths and that as a newspaper editor he was responsible for some of the most egregious climate denying nonsense ever to darken the pages of mainstream mass media."

A Just Stop Oil protester jumped on the table at the Cazoo World Snooker Championship Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

A study, led by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the University of Glasgow, and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found an excess 335,000 deaths were observed across Scotland, England and Wales between 2012 and 2019, following the implementation of austerity policies in 2010.

Just Stop Oil's statement added: "However, much as we applaud the use of orange confetti at this wedding we were not responsible."

Mr Osbourne, 52, tied the knot on Saturday afternoon with his former aide, 40, at St Mary's Church, in the Somerset village of Bruton, where they own a property.

It was after the couple, who have two children together, had emerged from the church, that the woman approached them from behind and emptied her bag of confetti over them.

She then smiled and quickly fled as she was approached by security.

Just Stop Oil initially appeared to take credit for the interruption, tweeting footage of the incident with the caption: "You look good in orange @George_Osborne — congratulations to the newlyweds."

Soldiers and rescue workers have led a mass evacuation effort in Pakistan amid the devastating floods. Credit: AP

The protest group then shared an article on Mr Osbourne's meetings with oil and gas companies during his time with Treasury, and on how he didn't want to stifle suppliers in the name of fighting climate change.

The incident sparked swift outrage. Former home secretary Priti Patel tweeted "JSO are shameful, attention seeking, disrespectful low life."

Former cabinet minister Andrea Jenkyns added: "Absolutely disgraceful crashing someone's wedding like this."

On Sunday morning, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told the Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme on Sky News: “I have got no time for Just Stop Oil. To be honest, I think it is a bit pathetic and quite tedious disrupting tennis, snooker, other people’s weddings.

George Osborne and Thea Rogers smile as they leave St Mary’s Church together. Credit: PA

“If they want to tackle climate change, engage in the policy answers, but they are not building support for their cause, they are doing the exact opposite.

“So it is counter-productive and it is rude frankly.

“People paid to go to Wimbledon, it may be the one time in their life that they get to Wimbledon, they don’t want to be disrupted by a load of protesters.”

However others supported the stunt. Journalist Aaron Bastani tweeted: "Highlighting climate change and a funny anecdote for Osborne for several decades. The literal definition of ‘no harm done."

Others critical of Mr Osbourne for his role in Britain's austerity era tweeted that they felt little sympathy for him.

High profile figures attended the wedding, including former prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, former chancellor Sajid Javid and levelling-up secretary Michael Gove.

Also present were Lord Hague and his wife, former health secretary Matt Hancock, ex-governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, and Labour's Ed Balls, along with his wife Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary.

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