California dreaming! Rishi Sunak takes his wife and two daughters to Santa Monica Pier on summer holiday to the US – while 5,000 miles away Greenpeace activists scale roof of PM’s home in eco protest
- On Thursday Greenpeace activists scaled the Prime Minister’s Yorkshire home
Rishi Sunak was spotted taking his wife and two daughters to Santa Monica Pier on their summer holiday, thousands of miles away from their Yorkshire home that was scaled by a group of Greenpeace activists on Thursday.
The Prime Minister was seen laughing with his wife Akshata Murty and their daughters Krishna, 12, and Anoushka, ten, as they played arcade games at the US tourist hub.
The smiling family soaked up the Californian sun as they strolled carefree down the popular beach front, seeming to have put any worries about their £2million mansion in Richmond, North Yorkshire, becoming the latest venue for an eco protest.
On Thursday four Greenpeace activists were arrested for clambering their way onto the roof of the Prime Minister’s home at 6am, two hours before the police were alerted just after 8am.
The eco group, all wearing red boiler suits, eventually returned to the ground at 1pm before they were loaded into the back of police vans and taken away.
Rishi Sunak was spotted taking his wife and two daughters to Santa Monica Pier in California on Thursday
The family of four were seen playing arcade games on the world-famous pier, appearing to put any worries of life back home behind them
On Thursday morning four Greenpeace activists scaled the Prime Minister’s £2million Yorkshire home in protest to Mr Sunak’s backing of major expansion of North Sea oil and gas drilling
Mr Sunak and his family had not been home at the time of the stunt, as they have embarked on a ten-day holiday in California.
The Prime Minister, who is enjoying his break during Parliaments recess, is expected to spend the week and a half trawling down the West Coast of the United States, stopping off at Disneyland on the way.
The family posed for photographs as they visited the concession stands on the world-famous pier.
A cheery Mr Sunak appeared laid back, wearing a grey long sleeve top and navy shorts, paired with espadrilles.
Ms Murty put on a colourful display wearing a multi-coloured maxi skirt paired with a pink t-shirt, while his daughter’s colour-coordinated both wearing splashes of red.
The family photos come amid a blazing security row about how the Greenpeace activists were able to act unhindered for two hours before police were alerted.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, along with former Home Secretary Priti Patel, called for an inquiry into how the ‘pathetic stunt’, was allowed to compromise the security of the Prime Minister’s home.
The PM was seen taking a Sunak family selfie as they enjoyed their day out in Santa Monica
The Prime Minister was seen laughing with his wife Akshata Murty and their daughters Krishna, 12, and Anoushka, ten
Ms Murty put on a colourful display wearing a multi-coloured maxi skirt paired with a pink t-shirt, while his daughter’s colour-coordinated both wearing splashes of red
The Greenpeace protesters managed to get onto the roof of the home by 6am on Thursday morning but the police were not alerted until just after 8am
Dai Davies, a former Scotland Yard divisional commander, said: ‘I am absolutely gobsmacked that this has been allowed to happen. Heads will roll for this, I am sure.’
Ms Patel urged her successor Suella Braverman to urgently look into the matter.
She said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Sir Smith added: ‘It’s a pathetic stunt for them to try and do which shows the pathetic, childish, poisonous nature of these organisations.
‘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.’
North Yorkshire Police have defended its action claiming the stunt was a matter for the Home Office.
One of the Greenpeace activists smiles as she is led away by police from the house on Thursday
Four Greenpeace activists climbed on the roof of Rishi Sunak’s home in North Yorkshire on Thursday while two others pulled out a large banner
Assistant Chief Constable Elliot Foskett added: ‘Shortly after 8am we responded swiftly to reports of protest activity at the Prime Minister’s North Yorkshire address.
‘There was no threat to the wider public throughout this incident which has now been brought to a safe conclusion.
‘The Prime Minister and his family were not at the address at the time of the incident.’
The Met Police is responsible for the Prime Minister’s safety, even when he is outside of the capital. The security operation is part of the Royalty and Specialist Protection branch of the force.
North Yorkshire Police initially said that two men and two women had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and public nuisance. The force later added that a fifth man had been been arrested on suspicion of causing public nuisance.
Greenpeace said it had carried out the action, which saw a ‘200sq m (2,150sq ft) of oil-black fabric’ draped over the home, in a protest to the major expansion of North Sea oil and gas drilling.
Two other activists were then seen unfurling a banner featuring the words ‘Rishi Sunak – Oil Profits or Our Future?’
The group claimed they knocked on the door upon their arrival and said: ‘This is a peaceful protest.’ But there was no answer. It is not known who reported them to police, but by the time officers arrived, the four were on the roof, 40ft above ground.’
One of the four roof activists was identified as Alex Wilson, who is originally from East Yorkshire but now lives in Newcastle with their partner Amy, who was also among the four on the roof. Wilson said they are a ‘volunteer climber with Greenpeace’ and were joined on the roof by ‘Mike and Matteo’.
Police near Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s house in Richmond, North Yorkshire, on Thursday morning
Posting a video message from the roof on Thursday, Wilson said: ‘We’re all here because Rishi Sunak has opened the door to a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea while large parts of our world are literally on fire. This will be a disaster for the climate.’
On the ground, activist Philip Evans told BBC News: ‘We’re here to bring home to the Prime Minister the really serious consequences of a new drilling frenzy in the North Sea.’ Mr Evans refused to say how the protesters gained access to the property.
The incident prompted serious questions about how the group was able to carry out the stunt so easily, with former North Yorkshire Deputy Chief Constable Peter Walker saying it was a ‘major breach of security’.
Greenpeace has insisted the protesters were aware that Mr Sunak was not in – and also knew how to climb up safely and how to avoid causing damage to the property.
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