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RSPB calls politicians ‘liars’ in fiery tweet

The charity has denied it is getting involved in politics following the social media post, resulting in an apology from the chief executive 

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Following a social media outburst, the RSPB stated that it campaigns on “policy, not on people”

The RSPB has denied it is wading into politics after an ‘angry’ social media post accusing the Government of lying. The conservation charity lashed out on X, formerly known as Twitter, at plans to scrap water pollution restrictions for housing developments in England. The RSPB later issued an apology and said the post had fallen below its own standards. 

The post accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, housing secretary Michael Gove and environment secretary Thérèse Coffey of saying they would not weaken environmental protections and then reneging on those commitments. The post stated “You lie, and you lie, and you lie again. And we’ve had enough.” 

Current ‘nutrient neutral’ restrictions prevent housing developments from going ahead that, if removed, eco-groups say will increase the level of nutrient pollution in waterways. The Government said these rules are a legacy of EU membership and it wants to remove them by amending upcoming legislation in the hope of allowing up to 100,000 more homes to be built before 2030. 

In her BBC Radio 4 Today programme interview, RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight refuted that the RSPB was “entering politics” but did issue an apology for the tone of the tweet, while still backing the sentiment. “The reason that has made us so frustrated and led to that original tweet is that it completely goes against the commitments that the Government has made many times in the past, not to weaken environmental protections.” Ms Speight offered the apology because “we campaign on policy, not on people.” 

Conservative MP Mark Jenkinson called for the Charity Commission to strip the RSPB of its charitable status for the outburst.

This story first appeared in Shooting Times, Britain’s oldest and best-selling shooting magazine. Published every Wednesday, the 141-year-old title has long been at the coalface of the countryside, breaking the stories that matter to you. Subscribe here.