Green Party member compares Insulate Britain protesters to suffragettes
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Theresa Norton, Labour member of Scarborough council, was among the Insulate Britain members who blocked the M25, M3 and M11. She was arrested four times over ten days over protests.
Insulate Britain is a campaign group calling on the Government to put in place a national home insulation programme, seeing every home insulated by 2030.
It was formed during the summer, and is an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion.
The group started blocking junctions on southern motorways on September 13, causing major disruption.
More than 270 arrests have been made over ten days in connection with the motorway protests.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Ms Norton explained why she took part in the Insulate Britain protests.
When asked what her constituents would make of the roadblocks, she said: “I think there are a lot of people that won’t understand.
“I represent the Eastfield ward and some of the poorest families in our borough are in that ward and if this campaign wins many of them will actually benefit.”
She added Insulate Britain will continue the roadblocks despite the threat of an injunction “until we get a meaningful statement from the Government”.
Ms Norton is the mother of Liam Norton, a senior figure and spokesperson from Insulate Britain.
In May, Ms Norton caused disruption in Scarborough by sitting in the middle of St Nicholas Street as part of an Extinction Rebellion protest.
She was charged with wilfully obstructing a highway with a non-motor vehicle, an offence which was alleged to have taken place on Saturday May 1.
She faces trial on November 5 and if convicted faces a fine of up to £1,000.
Speaking to The Scarborough News, Ms Norton made the protest to raise awareness for “the climate and ecological emergency”.
She added: “This was something that frightened me very much and it was not an easy thing to do.
“The message on my board read ‘I am terrified that ‘business as usual’ will rob our children of their future, because of the climate crisis’.
“The fact is that our Government declared a climate emergency two years ago but, apart from making statements about urgency and setting new target dates, they have done next to nothing in real terms.”
Robert Goodwill, Scarborough’s Conservative MP, said her behaviour should become a criminal offence.
He told The Times: “That is sort of behaviour that should not be allowed to take place because it disrupts people’s lives and I believe actually antagonises people against those issues.”
On October 5 the High Court will hear an application for a permanent injunction on the motorway protests.
Ministers have yet to decide whether to apply for a nationwide ban, fearing it could be rejected as disproportionate.
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