Climate activist pretending to be Tory campaigner gains access to energy secretary’s local office, say reports

An alert has been sent to government ministers and MPs after a climate activist posing as a Conservative campaigner found her way into the energy secretary’s local office where she sought information on upcoming events, according to reports.

A message has been circulated to MPs and ministers by the energy security and net zero secretary Grant Shapps’s local party office warning that it had been targeted by a climate activist posing as a “young person who said she’d like to get involved with campaigning”, The Times has reported

The newspaper states that staff became suspicious after the young woman, later found to be a member of campaign group Green New Deal Rising, was “persistent in asking about events”.

The warning sent by Shapps’ Conservative Association in his Welwyn Hatfield constituency, said: “Presumably she was hoping to disrupt our activities in some way [...] We also received a similar call from someone else who also appears to be an environmental activist, probably with the same intention.

“They may have targeted our office specifically because of Grant’s energy security role, but it’s worth you all being aware that they’re employing these tactics, in case they try it on with any of you.” The Times reports that the message advised: “Beware of anyone getting in touch out of the blue, and also do some social media digging into any new helpers.”

Last year, Green New Deal Rising also found its way into a Conservative leadership hustings event in Eastbourne, where activists shouted “shame on you” at the then-prime ministerial hopeful, Liz Truss. She described them at the time as “infiltrators”.

According to The Times, the group tried to gain access to the final hustings event in Wembley, London, but their members were turned away when their “back stories did not add up”.

A Tory source is cited by the newspaper as saying that one activist had claimed to have travelled from their “father’s farm in Surrey” for the hustings event, while another gave a fake name but then handed over their passport as identification. “It was less Mission: Impossible and more Pink Panther,” the source said.

More recently, the group has been protesting outside Labour MPs’ constituency offices, including those belonging to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, and deputy leader Angela Rayner. 

The group also hit headlines In July when it interrupted a speech by Starmer setting out the party’s proposed education policies, as well as plans to “bulldoze” through planning law to build more homes. 

Commenting to The Times on behalf of the campaign group, Hannah Martin, said: “Green New Deal Rising uses a range of methods to hold politicians to account for their failure to tackle the climate and economic crisis we are facing. That’s why we have been speaking to politicians and taking action up and down the country to highlight the voices of young people and call for a green new deal.

“After a summer of climate chaos, we desperately need a government that is committed to take the action required and to do it in a way that tackles the cost of living crisis. That means investing in renewable power to ensure lower bills for everybody, building cheap and accessible public transport for all and creating millions of good green jobs in the low carbon economy.

“We will continue to campaign to make young people’s voices heard and to push all political parties to commit to a green new deal.’’