Labour Party Conference sponsorship under fire from climate activists

London, 12 September 2019 - Grassroots campaign group Labour for a Green New Deal have taken aim at airport sponsorship at Labour Party Conference in a statement released today, following their announcement of a protest against BP’s presence at the annual gathering in Brighton.

Labour for a Green New Deal called for Labour members to boycott events sponsored by Heathrow and Gatwick airports at the Party’s conference in September, and for “the Party as a whole to reconsider its relationship to corporate bosses at conference.”

The full statement reads:

“Labour for a Green New Deal is deeply disappointed to see Heathrow, City and Gatwick airports sponsoring events at Labour Party Conference, including with Sadiq Khan. Labour is rightly in favour of a dramatic reduction in emissions, not only to protect the natural world but as a necessary act of solidarity with the working class across the world, above all in the Global South, who suffer the devastating impacts of climate breakdown.

Opposition to airport expansion should be as natural to the Labour Party and Labour politicians as support for new green jobs and a worker-led just transition. Just as we protest fossil fuel companies’ presence on conference fringe, so too do we condemn events with airport bosses intent on profit at the expense of the working class our party seeks to represent. We urge party members to boycott these events, and the Party as a whole to reconsider its relationship to corporate bosses at conference. We need a party conference for the many, not the few.”

The statement comes after Labour for a Green New Deal called a protest of the New Statesman’s event with BP at Labour Party Conference. BP is also hosting a stall inside the conference zone.

Noga Levy-Rapoport, a Youth Striker and Spokesperson for Labour for a Green New Deal, said:

“Airport expansion and further fossil fuel extraction are totally incompatible with Labour's ambition to combat the climate emergency and keep global temperature rises beneath 1.5c.

“The fact is that these airports primarily serve the needs of a wealthy minority, with just 15% of the population taking 70% of UK flights, just as BP’s drilling enriches its executives at the grave expense of working-class people around the globe. Party members would rather have a Green New Deal which would make invest in cheap or free, high-quality transport linking up the country. 

“We can’t allow environmentally destructive businesses free reign to use our party conference as a ground for lobbying and greenwashing. Labour Conference must no longer be a safe space for climate criminals.”

Notes for editors

  1. Heathrow Airport will be hosting a ‘departure lounge’ on the Monday and Tuesday of Labour Party Conference in Brighton this year, as well as an event with Prospect Magazine. The Labour South East Reception is also sponsored by Heathrow West.

  2. Gatwick Airport is sponsoring a ‘Q&A In Conversation with Sadiq Khan’, hosted by The New Statesman.

  3. Labour for a Green New Deal is a grassroots campaign pushing for the Labour Party to adopt a transformative Green New Deal to meet the challenges of climate change and inequality. Launched on 22 March 2019, it is comprised of thousands of Labour Party members, with active local groups spread across the country, from Cornwall to Glasgow. https://www.labourgnd.uk

  4. Labour for a Green New Deal’s motion has been sent to conference by more Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) than any other motion. If passed, it would commit the Party to adopting a transformative Green New Deal as policy. 

  5. For enquiries, contact Simon Youel at press@labourgnd.uk or on 07817765517