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Protesters Disrupt David Lammy's Speech On Tackling Dirty Money

David Lammy was about to give a speech before being disrupted by protesters (Alamy)

3 min read

A group of pro-climate and pro-Gaza protesters disrupted Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy's keynote speech on tackling kleptocracy in the UK.

Lammy was speaking at a conference hosted by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) about combating transnational kleptocracy and dirty money, but was disrupted for around 10 minutes at the start of his speech on Tuesday evening.

Around half a dozen protesters stood up in the audience to protest against Lammy, before sitting outside the auditorium and chanting. Police attended the venue but told PoliticsHome that as it was a "civil matter", no-one would be arrested. Security removed the protesters from the venue after around half an hour.

Lammy spoke back to the protesters who were criticising him for "taking dirty money" from "the pro-Israel lobby" and companies they said were damaging the climate.

"We have all been calling for a ceasefire, and we all look forward to meeting our climate commitments if we get a Labour government," Lammy responded.

One protester from the group Climate Resistance told PoliticsHome why had chosen to protest.

"It's the campaign to stop polluting, which is challenging politicians over the money that they take from the fossil fuel industry and over the money they take from Israel lobbyists," they said.

"He has still not called for the arms embargo on Israel, even though the Rafah cleansing is proceeding."

The protesters had signed up for the event using fake company names (PoliticsHome)
The protesters had signed up for the event using fake company names (PoliticsHome)

Another protester from campaign group Youth Demand said they would do "whatever it is possible" to demand an arms embargo to Israel and no new oil and gas licenses.

"The Labour Party are utterly failing young people and failing the people of Palestine," they said.

"Young people can see this and they can see through their lies. They are no different to the Tory party and that is why we're in existence."

After the protesters were removed from the auditorium, Lammy continued his speech to outline what a Labour government would do to lead an international initiative to tackle financial crime, particularly around Russian "dirty money" circulating in the UK since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

He said Labour would host a UK-hosted summit to drive global attention towards the issue, and would create an international anti-corruption court to prosecute some of the most serious financial crimes.

Describing London as a “hotbed of kleptocracy”, he said that Labour would look to "coordinate national security strategies enforcement" and tighten up regulation to "end the regulatory and enforcement asymmetries to which illicit finance tends to creep".

He also advocated for a new whistleblower reward scheme to incentivise and encourage sources to step forward and expose such crimes.

Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge also attended the conference, appearing on a panel about stopping the flow of dirty money through UK overseas territories and crown dependencies. After Lammy's speech, she said that having worked in this area for over a decade, "it's the first time that I've seen a full, ethical, strong commitment".

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