Why are people hugging trees to clap back at Keir Starmer?

Why are people hugging trees to clap back at Keir Starmer?

Related video: Keir Starmer fumbles words while stressing importance of 'oracy'


Sir Keir Starmer is getting a load of stick (sorry) from environmental campaigners, amid reports the Labour leader responded to a presentation from climate spokesperson Ed Miliband on green energy policies by saying he “hate[s] tree huggers”.

The revelation, which comes just days after student campaigners from Green New Deal Rising interrupted his speech on education policy in Gillingham, was made by an anonymous source to The Sunday Times.

They said Sir Keir thanked Mr Miliband for the presentation but that he “wasn’t interested in hope and change”.

The source continued: “He was more interested in creating sustainable new jobs to replace jobs in old sectors that were being lost.

“He then said he was not interested in tree huggers, before adding to everyone’s surprise, ‘in fact, I hate tree huggers.”

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The remarks are alleged to have been made in a meeting last month, a day after Sir Keir was in Aberdeen giving a speech on his party’s vision for clean energy.

Another source – this one being a shadow cabinet minister – told the Times that Mr Miliband was a “hopey-changey kind of person”, as the party continues to argue over whether to prioritise green or economic policy.

Labour has been criticised recently over its decision to water down its £28bn a year commitment to a Green New Deal starting from the first year they enter government.

Now, the backlash comes over Sir Keir’s “tree huggers” comments, which has prompted individuals to take photos of them embracing some bark in a witty retort to the politician’s views:

Tree-mendous (sorry).

While Labour is yet to comment on Sir Keir’s reported remarks, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said on Sunday that she “cares passionately about tackling the climate emergency” and “loves a tree”.

However, at the same time, she also criticised “rude” environmental protesters for causing “needless disruption to people’s lives”.

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