Jo Swinson meets Extinction Rebellion protesters dressed as bees in electric battle bus clash
Jo Swinson has been taken to task by climate change protesters dressed as bees on a campaign visit.
The Lib Dem leader was visiting a youth centre in Streatham, south London, when she was confronted by members of the Extinction Rebellion group.
One of the six activists even glued themselves to the party's battle bus - despite the fact that it runs on electricity.
Ms Swinson told them: "Hello, it's good to be here, very lovely to meet you and I appreciate the campaining work that you're doing about the climate emergency so thank you for coming and expressing very clearly your concerns about this today."
But the activist shot back: “I find ‘campaigning work’ a little bit patronising, we’re an active rebellion against the Government, which has failed to act on climate change and the climate breakdown in the face of evidence 30 years.
“And we’re now being asked to vote in a political system for political parties who have promised things in an election and have failed afterwards.”
The Lib Dem leader said it was “absolutely true” there is a climate emergency and praised their activism as a “really important cause” as she laid out her party's green policies.
The Lib Dems have vowed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, and have promised to plant 60 million trees a year and generate 80% renewable electricity by 2030 among their climate plans.
XR however are pressing leaders to commit to net-zero by 2025, for the next government to declare a climate and ecological emergency and to set up a citizens’ assembly on tackling the crisis.
The ‘Bee-yond Politics’ protest comes as the environmental group seeks to pressure the UK political parties to put tackling the climate emergency at the top of the election agenda.
Tweeting after the exchange, Ms Swinson said: “Great to speak to @XRebellionUK bees today.
“The climate emergency needs urgent action now.
“@LibDems are the only party with a credible & radical plan...
“And thank-you @XRebellionUK for cleaning up our electric coach afterwards.”
And deputy leader Ed Davey also embraced the surprise twist on the campaign trail.
“It is great to see our campaign creating such a buzz around tackling the climate emergency.
“Extinction Rebellion have played an important role, alongside the school climate strikes, in putting this crucial issue front and centre of this election,” he said.
“We know there is no planet B. The UK needs a government that will put protecting our planet at the heart of its ambitions.
“The Liberal Democrats have bold plans to achieve net-zero by 2045. Under a Liberal Democrat government we will generate 80% of our electricity from renewables by 2030, insulate every home, ensure every car sold is electric and plant 60 million trees a year.
"Only the Liberal Democrats have a plan to build a brighter future for our planet.”