Children having climate activism ‘forced down their throats’ – Conservative MP

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Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie (centre) with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a Barratt Homes development site in Great Oldbury, Gloucestershire (PA) (PA Wire)
Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie (centre) with Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a Barratt Homes development site in Great Oldbury, Gloucestershire (PA) (PA Wire)

Children are having activism “forced down their throats” as the way to tackle to climate change, a Conservative MP has said.

Siobhan Baillie suggested that British children should train as scientists and become the “problem solvers of solutions for the future” like climate change, instead of joining groups like Insulate Britain or Extinction Rebellion.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference on Monday, the Stroud MP said: “The first thing is we know that young people already care. We hear that teenagers want a job with heart, whatever the hell that means.

“I wanted a job that made money when I was growing up, but kids are really changing now, they are going home and trying to make their parents change as well.”

Ms Baillie said she had “so many letters” from school children in her constituency which “tell her off” and ask her to “tell the Prime Minister off” to take action on the climate crisis.

She added: “But what we also know is what is often on television, what is often in some ways forced down their throats, is that activism on climate means that they are seeing people lie down on motorways or they are seeing people stopping other people getting to work.

“We can make this incredibly positive. We can make it where we are not catastrophising the climate emergency.

“We can ask these children to become scientists… we can ask them to be the problem solvers of solutions for the future.”

In the last month, protesters from the group Insulate Britain have targeted the M25, the M4, the Port of Dover, and roads through London, lying down or sitting in the road to block cars from travelling.

At the conference event on the “Green Industrial Revolution”, business minister Greg Hands said that the upcoming Cop26 meeting was a chance for the UK to “lead by example” by demonstrating its net zero plans.

Mr Hands said: “We have got Cop next month. The UK, we need to lead by example, which is what we are doing, what we have done and we need to lead the rest of the world.

“Ultimately, the UK only provides 1% of the worlds emissions. We need to influence others, our international partners to do their share as well, the other 99%. That is what Cop26 in Glasgow in a month’s time is going to be all about.”

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