Guardian criticised after Just Stop Oil article ‘calls for protests at Labour MPs’ homes’

Stella Creasy
Stella Creasy has voiced fears ‘we are nomalising’ targeted attacks on MPs - Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

A former shadow minister has criticised The Guardian’s publication of a Just Stop Oil opinion piece “calling for Labour MPs to be targeted in their homes”.

Stella Creasy said the piece, written by Sarah Lunnon, a co-founder of the protest group, was evidence of an “infection in our body politic”.

The Walthamstow MP told BBC Radio 4: “If you want any evidence of that, The Guardian newspaper has today… published an opinion piece calling for Labour MPs to be targeted in their homes.”

She added that she was “quite terrified in raising this” because she realised that doing so “puts me in the sightlines of the organisation behind it”.

The Guardian piece claimed a Labour government would not “stand up” to “the finance sector and the Tufton Street think tanks”, referring to the London road that is home to several Right-wing organisations.

It is for this reason that “we are asking Labour MPs, at their offices, in their constituencies, and at their homes, to find their courage”, it said.

Ms Lunnon claimed “ordinary people will demand of [Labour MPs] that they recognise what is needed to defend us. We all have a right to feel safe in our homes, but with the storms, the floodwaters and the fires we are not safe”.

Speaking about Wednesday’s motions to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, Ms Creasy said she has “still faced abuse and intimidation” despite having called for the fighting to stop.

She said she had intended to vote in favour of “both the amendments” on Wednesday night in order to “progress that argument”.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the speaker, claimed that he chose to table Labour’s amendment because MPs could be in danger if they did not vote for an immediate ceasefire.

The move was a huge break from convention that angered both the Conservatives and the Scottish National Party, which had used one of its three annual opposition days to bring the motion.

A spokesman for Just Stop Oil said: “Just Stop Oil is an entirely non-violent organisation.

“There is blatant misrepresentation and hysteria from certain segments of the media establishment, that ordinary constituents might want to peacefully hold their politicians to account for having policies that are destroying communities, such as enabling new oil and gas whilst the world passes irreversible tipping points – risking social collapse within our lifetimes.”

A Guardian spokesman said: “The article was an opinion piece, written by the co-founder of Just Stop Oil, which sets out their rationale for different methods of campaigning.

“The piece does not represent the views of The Guardian which, as a pluralistic news organisation, publishes a wide range of voices with different opinions on issues of public interest, including Stella Creasy, who has written for us on this topic today.”

Ms Creasy was contacted for comment.

The row comes after the home of Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative MP, was targeted by pro-Palestinian protesters when members of the Palestine Solidarity Movement shared his address on Facebook last week.

The protest followed an announcement a fortnight earlier by Mike Freer, another Tory MP, that he would stand down at the next general election over fears for his safety.

Ms Creasy said on Thursday that Mr Ellwood had been “targeted in his home by a political organisation” and that “we are normalising that”.

She continued: “I’m incredibly sympathetic to the idea that we’ve got to make climate change a massive priority in getting to net zero. But where does this end if we are saying that MPs and their families and their homes are fair game?”

The MP warned that “we’re also going to get to the point where only people who want conflict” are heard.