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Labour defends taking £1.5m given by Just Stop Oil donor Dale Vince | Politics News

A Just Stop Oil donor is a “perfectly legitimate person” for Labour to take money from, according to a shadow cabinet minister.

The opposition party has received roughly £1.5m from Dale Vince in the past decade, as the Sky News Westminster Accounts project showed.

Mr Vince has also given money to the group of fossil fuel and climate protesters, which has become notorious for its visible and disruptive protests.

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Speaking to the BBC, shadow trade secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said his party has been “extremely clear on our views on Just Stop Oil” – and Mr Vince is allowed to “give money to other causes”.

Mr Vince is the founder of the green energy firm Ecotricity.

Conservative MPs have been quick to criticise the donations.

Deputy party chairman Lee Anderson said: “Every day that Labour takes money from Dale Vince another ambulance is delayed, a hospital appointment is missed, a grieving relative can’t get to a funeral which proves this is a slap in the face to hardworking Brits trying to get on with their lives.”

Brendan Clarke-Smith added: “Well said. It’s appalling that they’ve accepted this cash.”

Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands has called for Sir Keir Starmer to return the money.

Dale Vince has donated to both Labour and Just Stop Oil
Dale Vince has donated to both Labour and Just Stop Oil

A successful businessman

In response, Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “We have been extremely clear on our views on Just Stop Oil.

“Indeed, Keir Starmer has said of them ‘just go home’ because they are not actually promoting the cause of tackling climate change.

“What they are doing is entirely counterproductive and the only debate it’s provoking is about our public order laws.”

He added that Mr Vince – also the chairman of League Two football team Forest Green Rovers – is a “successful businessman” based in the UK.

The shadow cabinet minister said: “He’s a perfectly legitimate person to take money from.

“If he wishes to give money to other causes that’s up to him, but it can hardly be said that this affects our views as a Labour Party on Just Stop Oil.”

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Mr Vince told the BBC he would continue to back Just Stop Oil, saying: “Sometimes laws are unjust. And when that happens, people have to stand up and do something about it. This climate crisis will be with us for hundreds of years.”

On his donations to Labour, he said: “I think it is a desperate stretch for the right-wing press and Tory MPs actually to be saying there’s a link here, that this money should be given back. The money is not dodgy.

“I’m not dodgy. It’s all tax paid. I am completely transparent.”

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Mr Vince said there was no link between the donations to Just Stop Oil and reports Sir Keir wants to block new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

He added that he spoke to Sir Keir on the phone “last week” – their second discussion – and they did not discuss Just Stop Oil.

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