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Tory MSs criticised for posing alongside conspiracy theory and anti-net zero banners

19 Oct 2023 5 minute read
Welsh Conservative MS’s Laura Anne Jones and Tom Giffard pose for photos with protestors. Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans.

Emily Price

Welsh Conservative MSs have been criticised after they posed for photographs alongside banners which supported a conspiracy theory and opposed net zero – despite it being in the party’s 2021 manifesto.

Anti-20mph demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Senedd on Wednesday (October 18) holding posters, placards and Welsh flags in protest against new default speed limit which was rolled out in Wales last month.

Several Tory MSs were photographed alongside protesters who were holding laminated posters which read: “NO to 20MPH. NO to 15 Minute City. NO to £ Road Charge. NO to More Speed Cameras. NO to Net Zero. NO more Senedd Members. NO to Labour”

Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans.

In an image posted to the social media platform X, Wales’ shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar could be seen smiling whilst holding one of the same laminated posters.

The ’15-minute cities’ concept has gathered pace in recent years as local governments try to find ways to cut down on carbon emissions and traffic.

Some people believe it is a sinister plot to remove rights and stop people from leaving their neighbourhood.

Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans

The placard saying, “No to Net Zero” is at odds with the Welsh Conservative’s 2021 Party Manifesto which laid out Tory plans to make “Wales Net Zero by 2050, with investment in clean energy solutions to reduce carbon emissions, and creating 15,000 new green jobs.”

Also at the anti-20mph protest, demonstrators displayed Welsh flags upside down, one of which had been daubed with the message: “DRAKEFORD THE DICTATOR”.

One Tory MS was asked by a protestor to hold the message for a photo opportunity but they declined.

Protestors were also seen attempting to cover the windows of the Senedd whilst people inside sat watching a lecture.

Protestors cover the windows of the Senedd – Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans

Extremism experts, HOPE not hate say campaigning against 15 minute cities is proving to be another avenue for far right activity.

David Lawrence Senior Researcher at HOPE not hate said: “Whilst of course there is scope for debate and discussion about new transport measures, at times these have been tinged with conspiratorial language or given way to misinformation. Given how heated debates can become, it’s important to be aware of them.

“Conspiracy theories around the ’15 minute city’ schemes claim that shadowy elites are using these measures to control peoples’ lives. This is of course a conspiratorial way of thinking, often linked to other conspiracy theories about climate change and COVID-19, but such notions are growing in popularity.”

Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “The irony has not escaped us that Members of the Senedd can post on social media about needing to reduce pressure on the NHS, whilst showing a photograph of them campaigning against measures that will actually reduce road traffic accidents, and thereby the number of times ambulances will need to be called.

“We’re used to seeing pantomime politics from Westminster, but we do not need this in Wales. But there is a more serious point at play here, and that is the suggestion that the desire to reach net zero is something to rally against.

“The climate challenge is one of the most gravely serious issues we face right now, and elected members should take their responsibility to treat with the gravitas the matter requires, not least when it’s their own party policy.”

Image: Gareth Llewelyn Evans

A Welsh Conservative Senedd Spokesperson said: “It is the Conservative Party that is taking net zero seriously and making sure that as a country we take the whole nation with us to reach this essential target to protect our planet for future generations.

“Labour’s anti-car, anti-motorist and anti-worker agenda will do nothing to make sure we achieve our carbon targets. Let’s not forget it is the UK Conservative Government which put achieving net zero into law and have put in place the Office of Environmental Protection.

“Labour in Wales have failed to do the same and we’ve seen just today their lack of action on Dŵr Cymru illegally releasing sewage.

“People have had enough and want the Welsh Government to lead.”


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Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
7 months ago

Asghar’s x-communication is laughable when compared to Conservative actions in Westminster. Quote “Our #NHS is under immense pressure with waiting times spiralling out of control” — 20mph is forecast to save the NHS £90million a year, due to fewer and less severe accidents – easing the pressure. Quote “Yet Labour ministers are focusing on rolling out #20mph speed limits & expanding the Welsh Parliament” — In the middle of a Global pandemic when the NHS was stretched beyond breaking Conservative Government found the time to change Britain’s car ID from ‘GB’ to ‘UK’ . Also expanding the Welsh Parliament is… Read more »

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

Natasha seems to conveniently forget she auditioned for the Mayor of London; a city where there are many 20mph zones already running, plus many more to come.

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago

Yeah, 15 min towns, meat tax, 7 bins, UK PM approved all the conspiracy idea’s at the conference. Then we had Penny Mordaunt attack speech, all they were missing at the Cons conference was a tin foil stand. No surprise they will not challenge the stupid. Now the Tory party in Wales endorses more of the same. And they want power. Sheesh, what a shower. I think the Spokesperson for the Cons must have trouble keeping a straight face, you cannot be that dim when you repeat No10 line you are told to say and the Conservative government will get… Read more »

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
7 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

I mean what has happened to the Conservatives in Wales You had to admit that some of their past Senedd and parliamentary reps have been quality – Wyn Roberts, David Melding…hell even Nick Edwards had some redeeming qualities, were they all kidnapped by aliens and replaced with these intellectual pygmies?

Jeff
Jeff
7 months ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

There are good Cons I know. Problem is, when Boris hijacked the party and sacked anyone who would question him, it wasn’t just a coup in HoC. It was top down, its why I got our MP, the one that runs away from car crashes and ran quickie divorce web sites. Same operation that is happening in the US GOP and the same advice and money crosses the pond. I was really hoping one particular MS was going to be up coming but then popped up with Farage. The UK party as a whole need to retake their party of… Read more »

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

Tories with thumbs up and smiling outside our Parliament endorsing the desecration, degradation and insult of our nations’ flag. What more evidence does anyone need to know that all Tories hate Wales? All I can say is I’m glad I wasn’t there to see that going on. Restraint would not have been my first thought.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Laura Anne Jones, Tom Giffard and Natasha Asghar will have to explain in Y Senedd their involvement with an anti Welsh hate mob outside the Parliament where THEY sit as MSs. The holding upside down of Y Ddraig Goch is a clear insult to, and a gesture of hate against, our country. The response of course will be it is the nautical sign of distress but Wales is only in distress because it is under the boot of the Empire which these numbskulls support so it’s an insult.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Is that a demonstration or the pension queue? Or the entire Tories in Wales membership?
It was nice to see one of the ladies riffing on tinfoil hats by wearing a whole tinfoil coat?

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Careful, not all of us of pensionable age are far-right supporting conspiracy theory believing nut jobs 🙂

Some of us become progressively more left-thinking the older we become!

Geraint
Geraint
7 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Having looked at the picture of all the protests on the steps I was surprised at all all the press coverage so decided to blow the picture up and count the faces I could see. I made it 47. Even if the number is twice that it is less than 100. So why is this small demonstration attracting so much publicity?

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
7 months ago

I predict that Labour will form the next Welsh government.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Many have fought and died for the flag, that these dim witted idiots are disrespecting , ” dros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed ” . I am fuming at such disrespect.

Dafydd
Dafydd
7 months ago

An English nationalist protest party of small minded idiots taking advantage of simple minded fools. All they have are conspiracy theories and culture wars. It will get worse as we move towards the Wasteminster election.

Llyn
Llyn
7 months ago

Well the 20mph limit doesn’t appear to be slowing these protesters journeys to work as they don’t appear to have any!

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

All turned up on the same bus. Probably from Tufton Street

Notttabottt
Notttabottt
7 months ago

Anyone got a name for the guy in blue?

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  Notttabottt

Dic Sion Dafydd

Andy Williams
Andy Williams
7 months ago

Why are they holding our nation’s flag upside down?

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago
Reply to  Andy Williams

Tory sponsored anti Welsh hatred.

Llyn
Llyn
7 months ago

So a Welsh Conservative Senedd Spokesperson said: “It is the Conservative Party that is taking net zero seriously” while at the same time their MSs are holding ‘No to Net Zero’ signs outside the Senedd?

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

Taking their lead from A R TDavies, pro devolution, then anti devolution, pro 20 mph then anti 20 mph, it depends how the wind is blowing, how a Tory will react, or how the polls are going, take you’re pick.

Erisian
Erisian
7 months ago

Up on the hill, (those) people stop and stare, they just don’t care…..

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
7 months ago

Look at the demographic, Daily Mail readers, says it all. All this 15′ city conspiracy – isn’t it a good thing if all you needed was within 15′ from your house so you could walk there and use services or drive there if you live in the country? We have to travel round trips of 60 -70 miles now to get to a bank, be it at 20mph!

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