Activism

Patrick Vallance set to brief MPs on dangers of climate crisis after man's 37-day hunger strike

Green MP Caroline Lucas, who organised the briefing after Angus Rose's hunger strike, has urged MPs to attend.

Angus Rose, the 'Uncle on Hunger Strike'

MPs have been urged to attend a briefing on the risks of the climate crisis, to be held in Parliament on Monday with Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser who played a leading role in public coronavirus briefings.

It was arranged after a 37-day hunger strike from activist Angus Rose, who sat outside the gates of Parliament demanding MPs and the public be told the reality of the dangers facing the environment.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who helped arrange the briefing after seeing Rose’s protest, told The Big Issue: “It’s three years since parliament declared a climate emergency, yet ministers are still not heeding the scientists’ dire warnings about the climate emergency and MPs are still not all fully informed about the latest climate science.”

Although the briefing will not be televised, it will be recorded and made available to the public.

The briefing will only be considered a success by Rose if two criteria are met.

First, that “a lot” of MPs from all parties attend. And secondly, that it is recorded or broadcast for the public to watch.

“If neither of those happen, I won’t see it as a success,” he told The Big Issue

His demand for a public briefing on the dangers of climate change came after Boris Johnson confessed to a “Road to Damascus” moment on the subject when receiving a similar briefing.

Rose said his protest would have been “really quite different” with “a lot less engagement” had he been moved away from Parliament under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act which came into force last week.

Brexit protester Steve Bray had his infamous loudspeaker seized by police after the new law, which restricts protests around Parliament, was introduced.

But Rose added that his protest could have continued in prison – and that the new law could not fundamentally stop hunger strikers.

“It’s something that can’t be taken away. It’s almost immune to the [Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act] that has been brought into effect,” he said, adding that his presence outside Parliament was “really, really quite important” to the success of his protest.

Rose said his memory has suffered since the hunger strike, but that he would consider the action again.

“When I ended this hunger strike I was like no never again. But I need to maybe carry on doing whatever I can. Maybe I will embark on another hunger strike, in which case the policing bill won’t affect me,” he said.

“I’m no-one special. If I was in Ukraine as a Ukrainian, I would be risking my life to defend my family and community. I’ve got similar clarity on the risks that my nieces and nephews face here.

He added: ​​”A lot of people don’t have that clarity. But if they did, keeping their kids and grandkids and nephews and nieces in their mind, then I think they would also consider doing something like going on a hunger strike. It’s in line with the risks that their kids face.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas told The Big Issue: “ It’s hugely welcome that the government’s chief scientific advisor and a panel of climate scientists are going to brief MPs and peers, and answer their questions, in large part thanks to the actions of Angus Rose. 

“I’m pleased to be able to host this event and would urge parliamentarians from all parties to attend and to equip themselves with the knowledge and understanding they need to protect us now and into the future.”

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