Members of the Public Disrupt Scotland’s First Minister’s Questions…Again!

Members of the public disrupted First Minister’s Questions for the second time in a row on Thursday 19th January.

The three, who acted under the banner of the Climate Justice Movement in Scotland [1] called on the First Minister to oppose the Westminster government’s deadly round of oil and gas licensing and end the enforced installation of electricity prepayment meters. [2]

The action comes after members of the public disrupted First Minister’s Questions last week, two days after the Scottish Government released the first draft of their Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.

Climate campaign groups including Friends of the Earth have already criticised the Energy Strategy and Transition plan saying it ‘shies away from the big decisions.’

The action coincides with a nationwide week of action this week by Fuel Poverty Action[3], who are aligned with the Climate Justice Movement in Scotland.  

The Prime Minister and Energy Secretary have come under considerable pressure to stop disconnection and forced switching to prepayment meters, after Citizens Advice revealed last week that 3.2 million people were cut off from their energy supply in 2022.

Lindsey Maycock a 23 year old MSc student in Sustainability and Environmental Studies explained why they disrupted First Minister’s Questions:

“We have no time for hollow statements and strategies that still don’t align with the Paris Agreement, and don’t keep us safe from overshooting 1.5 degrees of warming. Today, I decided to make the message as clear as possible by disrupting the Scottish parliament at FMQs, thereby letting them know that ‘business-as-usual’ is not an option.”

Stuart Bretherton, Fuel Poverty Action’s ‘Energy For All’ Campaign Coordinator, who also took part in the disruption said:

“Governments are bending over backwards to meet the needs of oil and gas companies despite their record profits, increasing eightfold in Centrica’s case! They’re being repaid by energy companies ignoring due and legal process in the scandal of forced switching to prepayment meters. Until the UK Government bans this practice, the Scottish Government must do all it can to protect people from disconnection.”

Frances Moore, 60, a retired teacher from Edinburgh, explained why they took part in the disruption,

“I’m doing this today because I feel I have to do SOMETHING in the face of the ever worsening climate emergency. I have 3 new grandsons and I want them to grow up in a world that isn’t devastated”


[1] The action has been claimed by the Scottish Climate Movement as part of a collaboration from groups including Fuel Poverty Action, This is Rigged, Just Stop Oil Scotland and Extinction Rebellion Scotland. They are demanding the Scottish Government work to ban the enforced installation of prepayment meters and officially revoke their support of all new oil and gas. This includes projects in the process of approval, such as Jackdaw and Rosebank, and onshore oil and gas projects such as Peterhead.

[2]The exact words of the 3 members of the public were:

First person “First Minister, will you oppose Westminster’s deadly round of oil and gas licensing? While profits for energy companies have reached record heights, whose side is the Scottish Government on? You must act urgently to protect people from the forced imposition of prepayment meters.

A second person followed, “You MUST oppose Rosebank and Abigail, as well as already licensed projects like Jackdaw. You must follow the advice of the world’s scientists, that we cannot have any new fossil fuel projects. Will you protect people over profit by taking a stand against the policies that are destroying lives and freezing people in their homes?”

A third said, “First Minister, we ask you to call on the Prime Minister to ban forced prepayment meters for good, and to work with the judiciary to ensure conditions are enforced and strengthened on energy companies seeking to switch customers over. You must also assist people in Scotland to be switched back to credit mode where prepayment is neither safe or practical.”

[3] The protest coincides with several days of action called by Fuel Poverty Action this week. During FMQs, campaigners were gathered in Westminster and Cardiff Central Square to hold vigils, as the Office for National Statistics announced last year’s excess winter death figures for England and Wales. Further protests such as ‘Warm-Ups’ will take place over the weekend, calling on the UK government to ban the forced installation of prepayment meters. 


Enforced Prepayment Meters:

Friends of the Earth Scotland statement: Energy Strategy ‘shies away from the big decisions’ – Friends of the Earth Scotland (