UK & World News
Caroline Lucas Faces Fracking Protest Charges
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas is to be prosecuted for taking part in a protest against fracking at a site in Sussex.
The politician was arrested last month after demonstrating outside the gates of energy firm Cuadrilla's drilling site in Balcombe.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced Ms Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and former Green Party leader, will face charges.
Officials said she will be prosecuted for "breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway".
The announcement came as Ms Lucas was due to join firefighters in East Sussex as they strike in a row over pensions and retirement age.
CPS lawyer Nigel Pilkington said: "Following an investigation by Sussex Police, the Crown Prosecution Service has received a file of evidence in relation to Ms Caroline Lucas MP, who was arrested during the anti-fracking demonstrations at the Cuadrilla drilling site in Balcombe last month.
"After careful consideration, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to prosecute Ms Lucas for breaching a police order on public assemblies and wilful obstruction of the highway."
Both offences are alleged to have taken place on 19 August 2013.
Mr Pilkington said the decision had been taken based on official guidance about cases involving the public interest.
He added: "These are summary offences which can only be tried at magistrates' court."
Ms Lucas confirmed the charges and said in a statement: "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."
She will appear at Crawley Magistrates' Court on October 9.