AN EXTINCTION Rebellion (XR) demonstrator dressed up as Boris Johnson has climbed up the scaffolding around the base of Big Ben.

The man, named by the environmental protest group as 43-year-old tree surgeon Ben Atkinson, clambered up wearing a costume and blonde wig mimicking the prime minister.

He was said to be attempting a "free solo climb" of the Queen Elizabeth Tower to "highlight government inaction on the climate and ecological emergency".

Mr Atkinson is understood to live in the Ambleside area.

An XR member contacted the Gazette to say that Mr Atkinson wished to speak to the Prime Minister. A statement from him read: "What is Boris scared of? He must be terrified because he is hiding from a bunch of pensioners, normal people with children and loves, lives and jobs, peaceful protestors and non-violent communicators.

"If he represents the people then where is he? Hiding and not representing the country. Hiding from eminent global disaster and failing us all from a position of power.

"I would like to talk to him. I'm not afraid of all these police, dizzy heights and of facing the reality of what is happening to our living planet. Come up here Boris, I would love a friendly and peaceful chat with you."