Labour has received around £1.5 million from a Just Stop Oil donor, not the protest group itself

13 June 2023
What was claimed

Labour took £1.5 million from Just Stop Oil.

Our verdict

This isn’t correct, and we’ve found no evidence that Just Stop Oil has made any donation to the Labour party. However the businessman Dale Vince, who has donated to Just Stop Oil, has also given around £1.5 million to the Labour party through his company.

Over recent weeks Full Fact has seen a number of misleading and unevidenced claims about the environmental protest group Just Stop Oil and the Labour party.

In February we wrote about the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, claiming that Just Stop Oil “bankroll[s]” the Labour party. There’s no evidence this is true—however despite both Full Fact and our supporters writing to Mr Sunak to ask him to back up his claim with evidence or correct the record, he is yet to respond.

We’ve now also written to Sky News after its presenter Kay Burley on 1 June told Labour MP Stephen Kinnock that the party had “taken one and a half a million quid off” Just Stop Oil. (Sky News noted that a banner which appeared during the interview made clear that the donation came from a “Just Stop Oil backer”, as opposed to the group itself.)

A banner which appeared ahead of an interview with Ecotricity founder Dale Vince on Sky News on 5 June—after we had written to the channel about the 1 June broadcast—similarly stated that there were “Questions over Just Stop Oil’s donations to Labour”. We’ve also contacted Sky News about this statement and will update this fact check if it responds.

We’ve seen similar claims circulating on Facebook, suggesting that Just Stop Oil is “funding” Labour, or that the party received “[£]1.5 million” from the group.

Many of the claims about this issue appear to focus on Mr Vince, whose company has made numerous donations to the Labour party. Mr Vince has also made donations to Just Stop Oil, including pledging earlier this month to double donations made to the group for 24 hours.

It has been very widely reported, accurately, that Mr Vince has donated a large sum to Labour—”more than £1.4 million” according to the BBC, or “£1.5 million” according to the Daily Mail. But we’ve found no evidence that Just Stop Oil itself donates directly to Labour or its MPs.

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Donations to the Labour Party

Under Electoral Commission rules, political parties must report all donations and loans of more than £7,500 to the central party (or over £1,500 if the donor or lender gives further during the calendar year), and £1,500 to other sections of the party.

We can find no evidence from Electoral Commission records that Just Stop Oil, or its main funder the Climate Emergency Fund, has donated to Labour.

Of course, the Electoral Commission records don’t rule out that Just Stop Oil may have donated to the Labour party in amounts low enough not to be declared. But the group itself has confirmed to Full Fact that it has never given money to the Labour party, while Labour has also said it has “never taken any money from Just Stop Oil”.

Records from the Electoral Commission show a total of 23 donations to the Labour Party, individual MPs and party members from Ecotricity—the energy company founded by Mr Vince— totalling just under £1.5 million, with some dating back as far as 2013. 

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

Mr Vince’s relationship with Just Stop Oil

Conservative party chair Greg Hands has described Mr Vince as Just Stop Oil’s “founder”. 

We asked the Conservative party what evidence it had to support this claim, and it pointed us to a column written by Mr Vince for The Independent in 2022, in which he said: “I also helped Just Stop Oil with some funding. I was approached by one of the founders a few months ago and agreed to help them get started. And why not? Their goal is as simple as it is essential: to stop all new exploration for oil and gas in the UK.”

However Mr Hands’ claim has been challenged by Mr Vince and Just Stop Oil, who both told Full Fact that he was not a founder of the group. 

Just Stop Oil said its campaign originated in large part from another environmental campaign group called Insulate Britain and collaboration with campaigners from other groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Animal Rebellion and Stop HS2. It said Mr Vince was not involved in this process.

Image courtesy of Alisdare Hickson

We deserve better than bad information.

As detailed in our fact check, we contacted Sky News to request a correction following its banner which appeared on screen ahead of an interview with Ecotricity founder Dale Vince on 5 June.

Sky News did not respond. 

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