"As the political wing of things that don't work properly, it is the Conservative Party not me that should be paying the bill.”
The Secretary of State for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, has been ridiculed after his latest political stunt spectacularly backfired.
After campaigners from the climate protest group Just Stop Oil sprayed orange paint onto the department for energy security and net zero’s headquarters in Westminster on Wednesday after its decision to issue more than 100 new oil and gas licences in the UK, Shapps decided to invoice the Labour Party for the damage to the building.
The Tory minister drew on a familiar baseless Tory attack line, posting a ridiculous letter on Twitter and claiming that Just Stop Oil was the ‘political wing of the Labour Party’.
The Tories have repeatedly tried to claim, incorrectly, that Just Stop Oil funds the Labour Party. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previously made the claim which was fact checked and proven to be false by organisations such as Full Fact which wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to prove his claim.
The truth is that Dale Vince, the green energy entrepreneur, has donated money to Just Stop Oil and some Labour politicians, including Starmer but that’s not the same as Just Stop Oil funding the Labour Party.
Shapps wrote in his letter: “I am writing to you to ask you to pay to repair the damage to the department. The British public should not have to foot the bill for your mates in Just Stop Oil.”
Shapps claimed the damages are worth £3,000 to £4,000, adding: “We will send you the invoice.”
His letter received much ridicule online, with one social media user writing: “Oh, I didn’t realise it worked like this! @grantshapps can I invoice you for the extra cost of my mortgage, energy bills and food which your party incontrovertibly caused?”
Another wrote: “I’ve written to @grantshapps to request he pays for the damage to my shirt that a leaky biro caused this morning.
“As the political wing of things that don’t work properly, it is the Conservative Party not me that should be paying the bill.”
Adam Bienkov, political editor of Byline Times tweeted: “Political parties should be held responsible for absolutely everything else funded by their donors’ is a… bold precedent for the Conservative Party to set.”
He then posted links to stories setting out how the Tories had accepted donations from individuals with links to Putin.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward