Priti Patel calls for review of Rishi Sunak's security as Government cuts ties with Greenpeace

The former home secretary has urged her successor Suella Braverman to launch a review into how protestors were able to scale Rishi Sunak’s family home, as the Government cut ties with the campaign group responsible.

Priti Patel, who served in the role for three years under Boris Johnson, said that there were “major security concerns” over how Greenpeace activists were allowed onto the property on Thursday morning.

“This raises some very serious questions around how the home of a sitting Prime Minister has been accessed in this way, to the extent that political campaigners and activists have been able to trespass on his property and physically gain access,” she said.

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“There are major security concerns that have to be investigated, and quite frankly the Home Secretary should be absolutely looking into this as a matter of urgency and raising an immediate review.”

Former home secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Andrew Boyers/PA WireFormer home secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Andrew Boyers/PA Wire
Former home secretary Priti Patel. Picture: Andrew Boyers/PA Wire

She was joined by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith who called for an inquiry into the “shocking” failure of security.

“It’s a pathetic stunt for them to try and do which shows the pathetic, childish, poisonous nature of these organisations,” he said.

“But also how is it that the security doesn’t seem to know how to protect the house of the Prime Minister – that’s a shocking discovery. There has to be an inquiry into what the hell was going on.”

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Yesterday Therese Coffey, the Environment Secretary, reportedly ordered her department to end meetings and engagement with Greenpeace 12 hours after five protesters were arrested and later bailed by North Yorkshire Police.

Civil servants in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have now been told to end meetings and engagement with the group until further notice.

In response to the intervention, Greenpeace defended the protest as “entirely peaceful” and diligently planned to avoid safety risks.

The group’s UK co-executive director, Will McCallum, said: “This isn’t about the Government engaging with Greenpeace, it’s about them engaging with the world around them. The planet is on fire and Rishi Sunak is acting like nothing’s happening.”

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The campaigners had scaled Mr Sunak’s manor and draped it in an oil-black fabric to demonstrate against Government plans to grant more than 100 new licences for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.

They climbed onto the roof at about 8am while the Prime Minister his wife and children are on holiday in California and stayed up until around 1.15pm, when they were arrested.

Areeba Hamid, co-executive director of Greenpeace, said the protest had been planned “carefully and meticulously” and would not have gone ahead if the Prime Minister was there.

She told Sky News it was a “proportionate response to a disastrous decision” by Mr Sunak to allow for further drilling.

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The activists had knocked on the door and got a response before making it clear to those present who they were, she said.

North Yorkshire Police said: “All five suspects who were arrested following the protest in Kirby Sigston on August 3 have been released on conditional police bail to allow for further inquiries to be carried out.

“The investigation remains ongoing.”

Assistant Chief Constable Elliot Foskett said: “There was no threat to the wider public throughout this incident, which has now been brought to a safe conclusion.”

Health minister Maria Caulfield refused to comment on the Prime Minister’s security arrangements but said safety for MPs is “always a concern”.

She said: “MPs overall do have security concerns.

“We’re coming up in October to two years since our good colleague Sir David Amess was murdered, so yes, security around MPs is always a concern.”