Nigel Farage cancels launch of campaign against net zero after second venue pulls out

Vote Power Not Poverty organisers claim ‘abuse, threats and intimidation’ have made event untenable

Saphora Smith
Climate Correspondent
Monday 21 March 2022 14:00 GMT
Nigel Farage has launched a new campaign calling for a referendum on UK net-zero goals
Nigel Farage has launched a new campaign calling for a referendum on UK net-zero goals (AFP via Getty Images)

Nigel Farage has cancelled the launch of his new campaign against net zero after a second venue pulled out of hosting it.

Organisers of the Vote Power Not Poverty rally said “a wave of abuse, threats and intimidation” had led them to scrap the event, which had been scheduled to take place in Bolton on Saturday.

The launch of the campaign, which is calling for a referendum on the government’s pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, was originally due to be held at Bolton Wanderers’ stadium but the football club pulled out amid a fan backlash.

The rally was set to be relocated to 3D Centre, a wedding and function space, but campaign organisers told The Independent on Monday they had cancelled the event entirely after that venue also pulled out.

“The amount of intimidation the owner was under became impossible,” a spokesman for the campaign told The Independent. “It’s even worse than Brexit.”

“I don’t think he realised quite how much rubbish would come through to him through the ether,” he said.

The Independent has contacted the 3D Centre for comment.

“Amid increasing security concerns, it is becoming clear that we cannot guarantee a safe environment within which people can come together to participate in the rally and so we have no alternative but to cancel,” the campaign said in a statement.

It added: “Be assured that though our rally in Bolton will not go ahead, our campaign to provide cleaner air, improved sustainability and truly affordable energy to Britain will continue unfettered.”

The campaign spokesman said he did not yet know when Mr Farage would hold a launch event but said organisers were looking for a venue, whether in Bolton or not.

Asked why Bolton was chosen location for the first rally, the spokesman said it was partly because Mr Farage had been there before and also because it was important to “get out of London.”

Mr Farage, a GB News host and former Brexit Party leader, previously accused Bolton Wanders of a “Moscow-style rebuke to free speech” after the League One football club declined to host one of the rallies.

He announced the net zero campaign earlier this month in an article on the Mail on Sunday.

Mr Farage, who said his aim was to "kill off Boris Johnson’s ruinous green agenda,” said Monday that his campaign was “gaining traction”.

The campaign’s website makes a number of unsubstantiated claims about the UK’s legally binding 2050 net zero target, which it claims will “make the older be colder and poorer due to higher energy bills" and “harm young people and future generations with fewer jobs, higher bills and less money”.

Experts have denounced it as “disingenuous” and economically illiterate.

The Independent has contacted Mr Farage for comment.

The UK’s independent Climate Change Committee has said progress will need to accelerate if the country is to reach net zero by 2050.

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