Green Party MP Caroline Lucas faces prosecution over anti-fracking demonstrations
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has confirmed she will be prosecuted after taking part in anti-fracking demonstrations.
The Brighton Pavilion MP said she remained "deeply concerned" about the impact of fracking after the Crown Prosecution Service said there was sufficient evidence to charge her and that it was "in the public interest" to prosecute her "for breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway".
Ms Lucas was arrested last month during protests outside the Cuadrilla drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex. She said: "Sussex Police have today confirmed I am being charged with two offences arising out of my arrest in Balcombe on August 19.
"One of the offences is for obstructing the highway. The other is for failing to comply with a police condition to move to a specified protest area.
"I firmly believe in the right to peaceful protest and remain deeply concerned about the impact of fracking on climate change and the wider environment.
"I have been advised by my lawyer to make no further comment at this stage."
The MP was among at least 25 people who were arrested during a day of "direct action" by protesters outside the gates of the energy firm's drilling site in London Road, where hundreds demonstrated against fracking.
Ms Lucas had been sitting with a crowd of protesters outside the entrance to the site for most of the day when she was marched away by officers and put into a police van.
At the time of her arrest, Ms Lucas said she was trying to stop a process which could cause enormous damage for decades to come, undermining efforts to tackle climate change and posing risks to the local environment.
Sussex Police said protesters were arrested as officers moved in to clear a large group of people in front of an emergency access to the site. Nigel Pilkington, a senior lawyer with the Crown Prosecution Service South East, said they had made the decision to charge the MP after receiving a file of evidence following an investigation by Sussex Police.