Greenpeace scales Sunak’s manor house in protest at oil drilling ‘frenzy’

Greenpeace activists have said they have scaled Rishi Sunak’s mansion in protest at his new drilling “frenzy”.

The campaigners said they had draped the Prime Minister’s manor house in North Yorkshire with an oil-black fabric to “drive home the dangerous consequences”.

They took the action on Thursday as Mr Sunak and his family are away on holiday in California.

Greenpeace protest at Rishi Sunak house
Greenpeace activists covering the house in black fabric (Luca Marino/Greenpeace/PA)

Police were at the scene “managing the situation”, as Greenpeace faced criticism from Conservatives for targeting the family home in Kirby Sigston, near Northallerton.

Mr Sunak, the MP for Richmond in North Yorkshire, has said he plans to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves by granting more than 100 new licences for extraction in the North Sea.

He has also hinted that the UK’s largest untapped oil field, Rosebank, to the west of Shetland, could be approved despite fierce opposition from environmental campaigners.

Climate-conscious Conservatives have joined campaigners to warn against the move, amid concerns it will hinder efforts to reach net-zero by 2050.

Greenpeace protest at Rishi Sunak house
Greenpeace activists climbing on the roof of the Prime Minister’s house in North Yorkshire (Luca Marino/Greenpeace/PA)

After scaling the house, the four activists held up a banner demanding “no new oil”.

Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Philip Evans said: “We desperately need our prime minister to be a climate leader, not a climate arsonist.

“Just as wildfires and floods wreck homes and lives around the world, Sunak is committing to a massive expansion of oil and gas drilling.

“He seems quite happy to hold a blowtorch to the planet if he can score a few political points by sowing division around climate in this country. This is cynical beyond belief.

“More North Sea drilling will only benefit oil giants who stand to make even more billions from it, partly thanks to a giant loophole in Sunak’s own windfall tax.”

North Yorkshire police said they were “responding to reports of protest activity”.

“Our officers are at the scene and managing the situation,” a statement added.

A No 10 source said “police are in attendance” before defending Mr Sunak’s climate policies.

“We make no apology for taking the right approach to ensure our energy security, using the resources we have here at home so we are never reliant on aggressors like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for our energy,” they said.

“We are also investing in renewables and our approach supports thousands of British jobs.”

Alicia Kearns, the senior Tory who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said the action was “unacceptable”.

“Politicians live in the public eye and rightly receive intense scrutiny, but their family homes should not be under assault,” she said.

“Before long police will need to be stationed outside the home of every MP.”

Government minister Alex Burghart called the activists “plonkers”.

Conservative backbencher Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “MPs and their families have enough to worry about with their security without extremist groups and their spoilt activists pulling stunts like this at their homes to promote their unrealistic, extravagant demands and student union-level politics.”