Climate activists hailed by Fearnley-Whittingstall for ‘putting liberty at risk’

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has defended climate protesters who use disruptive tactics to highlight their message, saying: “We need people to go out there and put their liberty at risk.”

The celebrity chef, who co-hosted the BBC documentary War On Plastic and has written vegetarian cookbooks, has previously pledged support for the Green Party.

Asked on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme about some public anger towards Just Stop Oil’s activities, he said: “Firstly, nothing’s more affordable than onshore wind to bring down our energy bills and give us energy security in the UK.

“Secondly (on) Just Stop Oil, every radical movement for change needs a radical wing that draws our attention to things.”

Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was speaking on the Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He added that the group, which calls for an end to all new coal, oil and gas projects in the UK, throwing orange powder as part of its stunts draws attention to an “absolutely vital issue”.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan, who was also in the studio, disagreed and interrupted Fearnley-Whittingstall to say Just Stop Oil draws “boos” when it causes sporting events to be paused.

Fearnley-Whittingstall responded saying: “These people are prepared to put their liberty on the line to defend something that they passionately believe in.

“That’s why women are allowed the vote in this country. What would you (Morgan) have been saying when women were throwing themselves in front of the King’s horse in order to get votes for women?

“We need people to go out there… put their liberty at risk.”

Speaking over host Kuenssberg, Morgan said the tactics are “failing” and the public are not “coming with” groups that cause disruption.

Fearnley-Whittingstall also said: “Next week, there’s an opportunity to lift the ban on onshore wind. (This) will give us much more energy security and cheaper electricity bills, and (the ability) to fight the climate crisis, which is absolutely at the heart of this.

“It’s not just about the energy in the moment. It’s about the future of our young people.”