Susanna Reid and clashed with a climate change activist in a fiery debate on Good Morning Britain after seven people were arrested for sitting on the track during the race at the British Grand Prix on Sunday.
Just Stop Oil , with spokesperson James Skeet appearing on the ITV show and pointing out that, since he was interviewed the morning after the protest, he considers it a success in raising awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis.
However, when former politician Ed questioned the protestors’ methods – and appeared to compare them to terrorists – things got tense on the programme.
‘You are the people in society who target people going about their normal lives to affect their campaign,’ Ed said. ‘That isn’t Gandhi. That isn’t the civil rights movement. That’s what terrorism is.’
‘Come on, Ed. We are a non-violent movement,’ James responded.
‘How dare you conflate us with terrorism? How dare you? You have three children. You have a massive platform here. You have the opportunity to tell the British people the truth every day and the fact that you’re failing to do that – how can you look your children in the eye?’
Susanna interjected: ‘James, sorry – Laura Tobin does do that every day. I’m sorry, I will not have the fact that we don’t cover climate change properly on this programme.’
‘Certainly not to the degree you should be,’ James responded. ‘You should be on here telling the British people that they’re led by a bunch of criminals who have no interest in dealing with this.’
Ed went on to tell James that he was ‘undermining’ his point with the language he was using.
Earlier on in the debate, Ed had asked James how campaigns like Just Stop Oil compared to the suffragettes, the civil rights movement, and LGBT Pride, with James pointing out that all of the movements had used civil disruption to further their causes.
On Sunday, activists from Just Stop Oil made their way onto the track shortly after the race had been red flagged following a major incident which saw Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo flip over and crash into a barrier.
Drivers had been warned via their team radios that protestors were present on the track shortly after the crash.
A statement on Twitter from Just Stop Oil which promoted the protest read: ‘A group of supporters of Just Stop Oil have stormed the track at #BritishGP2022
‘If you are more outraged about this disruption than our world being burnt before our eyes, then you need to get your priorities straight.
‘We demand the government calls an immediate halt to new oil and gas projects in the UK and we will continue to disrupt sports, cultural events and oil until this demand is met.
‘How many more young people have to step up before the government will listen?’
Northamptonshire Police confirmed that seven people were arrested following the protest.
Chief Inspector Tom Thompson said: ‘I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race-day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track.
‘We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.
‘Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers.
‘All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.
‘Finally, I would like to thank all of the officers and staff, as well as our partners, who have worked tirelessly on this policing operation. Generally we have had very low crime rates, today’s incident was dealt with effectively and efficiently, and I could not have asked for more.’
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.