No evidence that Just Stop Oil ‘bankrolls’ the Labour Party

7 February 2023
What was claimed

Just Stop Oil bankrolls the Labour Party.

Our verdict

Although a major backer of Just Stop Oil also donates to the Labour Party, we can find no evidence that the protest group makes donations to the party.

“What do the unions and Just Stop Oil have in common? They bankroll him [Sir Keir Starmer] and his party.”

Rishi Sunak has claimed that the Labour Party is being “bankrolled” by the trade unions and the protest group Just Stop Oil. 

It is true that trade unions are responsible for a substantial proportion of Labour’s income. During the 2019 general election campaign, for example, the Labour Party registered donations of £5.4 million, of which just over £5 million came from trade unions.

However, we can find no evidence to support the claim that Just Stop Oil itself provides funding to Labour.

Some people may donate to both separately. Most notably, an early backer of Just Stop Oilfounder of the energy supplier Ecotricity, Dale Vince— is also a major donor to the Labour Party. But this does not mean that Just Stop Oil itself funds Labour. 

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What we know about party funding

Under Electoral Commission rules, political parties must report all donations and loans of more than £7,500 to the central party and £1,500 to other sections of the party. The central party limit drops to £1,500 if more than one donation is made in the same calendar year.

We can find no evidence that Just Stop Oil, or its main funder the Climate Emergency Fund, or its co-founder Roger Hallam, has donated to Labour. Nor, as far as we can see, have any of Mr Hallam’s companies.

Records from the Electoral Commission show a total of 22 donations to the Labour Party, individual MPs and party members from Ecotricity since 2013, totalling just over £1 million. 

The majority of donations were made directly to the party’s head office but individual donations include £20,000 to Sir Keir Starmer, £10,000 to Angela Rayner and £20,000 to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, when he was an MP. 

Mr Starmer has condemned the activities of Just Stop Oil. Speaking during an interview on LBC when a caller questioned whether receiving money from Mr Vince conflicted with his views on the protesters, he said: “He [Dale Vince] knows that nothing that he donates to the Labour Party is going to affect my judgement on this. Obviously it's up to him what he does with his money. But the fact he donates will not, Kam [the caller to LBC] make a blind bit of difference to the tough line I take in relation to Just Stop Oil."

The Labour Party is reported to have called on the Prime Minister to correct the record saying his claim was untrue. 

Just Stop Oil has said “we do not bankroll @labour” and accused the Prime Minister of “making stuff up”. 

We have written before about the funding of the Labour Party and its relationship with trade unions. 

We have contacted both the Conservative Party and the Labour Party and will update this article if they respond. 

Image courtesy of Just Stop Oil

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After we published this fact check, we contacted Rishi Sunak MP to request a correction regarding this claim.

Mr Sunak did not respond.

Full Fact supporters also wrote to the Prime Minister to ask him to back up his claim with evidence or correct the record.

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