Extinction Rebellion leader steals show at mayoral hustings

An Extinction Rebellion leader seized attention at a London mayoral hustings before storming out, complaining that “soundbites lead to mass death”.

The event, which was organised by the Renew Party, was aimed at giving a platform to outlier candidates in the race to be Mayor of London.

But only three of the invited candidates turned up for the event after Burning Pink Party candidate Valerie Brown was arrested during an incident at Canary Wharf earlier in the day.

The party is linked to Extinction Rebellion, whose co-founder Roger Hallam was invited to take her place alongside Renew Party candidate Kam Balayev, Animal Welfare Party candidate Vanessa Hudson and Rejoin EU candidate Richard Hewison.

Mayoral candidate Valerie Brown was arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf yesterday. Credit: PA

Mayoral candidate Valerie Brown was arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf yesterday. Credit: PA

Candidates were given one minute each to answer questions about their visions for London, but Mr Hallam left, complaining that “soundbites lead to mass death”.

Earlier in the night, he said: “No one is actually talking about what’s actually going on. What’s actually going on is that there is no carbon budget left in the world and we’re in the middle of the biggest crisis in the history of humanity.

“Everybody who is a politician is lying about it, or they’re avoiding it. I’m not a politician. I’m not interested in becoming a politician… The politicians have been lying to us.”

He added: “I don’t really do many of these debates. Do you know why? Because you come into the room, you say everything’s in crisis, and then everyone carries on. Everyone just carries on.

“All the young people in this city know they’re f******. They’re mad as hell, and then they come to some hustings like this, and then everyone just carries on. No wonder they’re mad as hell. It’s just a farce.”

Mr Hallam went on to say that “politicians can’t sort out” the climate emergency and that “the way in which things are going to change for the better… is people themselves stepping up”.

Following Mr Hallam’s departure, the three remaining candidates made their cases to voters ahead of the election on May 6.

Kam Balayev, a former lawyer, said that his platform was “the new economy” and that he wanted London to “rethink and revise our relations with big tech”.

Vanessa Hudson of the Animal Welfare Party said she wanted to tackle the “unequal and often exploitative relationship with animals” and promote “healthy, sustainable and compassionate living”.

Richard Hewison, a self-described single-issue candidate, said he wanted to restore relations with the EU and urged voters to “use your first vote to show that you care about our relationship with our biggest trading partner”.

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