Michael Gove: Environment not ‘religious crusade’ after by-election win

The Leveling Up secretary also said he wants to “relax” a 2028 deadline for private landlords south of the border to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

But a Tory colleague said it would be “idiotic”, “immoral” and politically suicidal to tone down green pledges amid voters’ growing concerns about the climate crisis.

Rishi Sunak is being urged to abandon “unpopular, expensive green measures” ahead of the general election after a backlash against a totemic measure last week.

Despite losing Thursday’s by-elections in Yorkshire and Somerset, the Tories held out in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, near London, by battling a new motor vehicle burden.

READ MORE: Gas boilers to be penalized in energy efficiency renovation

Candidate Steve Tuckwell succeeded Boris Johnson as MP for the seat after he opposed the extension of an environmental protection measure by London Labor Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The ultra-low-emission zone (Ulez) is set to stretch from the center of the capital to the outskirts of commuter traffic next month. There is a charge of £12.50 per day for older, polluting cars.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer acknowledged that Ulez had ruined Labor’s chances for the seat and urged Mr Khan to “reflect” on the policy, which may now be reconsidered.

Tory strategists saw the result as a glimmer of hope on an otherwise bleak night when the Tories trailed their rivals by more than 20 points in all three by-elections.

Mr Gove told the Sunday Telegraph he wanted “prudent environmental protection” rather than “treating the cause of the environment as a religious crusade”.

He said: “I strongly believe that we are asking too much too quickly.”

Tory Local Government Minister Leww Rowley echoed the comments, saying some environmental campaigners took an “evangelical” approach.

He told Times Radio, “I think what Michael was saying was there’s a group of people in politics and a group of campaign organizations that treat it like a religion, they treat it with an evangelical fervor, which I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do.”

“You can’t have a reasonable debate with people. People yelling and yelling like “Just Stop Oil” and saying things that are fundamentally not right are not going to get us any further or faster on this journey.”

“What I think Uxbridge is showing is that we need to do this in a careful way, and do it over several decades – and we need to take people with us.

“And that is something that the Labor Party in Uxbridge has failed to do and what the Government wants to do very carefully is to ensure that people are with us on this journey.”

READ MORE: SNP ministers urged to suspend Indy prospectus amid spending row

Former Business Secretary Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the lesson of the Tory victory in Uxbridge was that “what works is getting rid of unpopular, expensive green measures”.

He told GB News: “I think Uxbridge is really interesting and important because if we get rid of stuff like Ulez that’s been popping up across the country and we show that we’re on the side of British voters – we stop burdening them with extra fees, extra regulations and extra interference in their lives – then I think there’s a real opportunity.”

He said by-elections “do not necessarily predict what’s going to happen in general elections,” but that governments should “think about what they’re doing and see what’s working and what’s not.”

He said: “What works is getting rid of unpopular, expensive green measures and that’s a real opportunity for us.” An Energy Bill is now in Parliament that will impose endless costs on UK consumers and businesses. We don’t want to do that.”

However, former Tory minister Lord Goldsmith or Richmond Park told the Observer that voters would punish any party that failed to deliver on its green promises.

He said: “Election results can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, and it is in the nature of politicians and political commentators to infuse the results with their own biases.”

“But it is cynical and idiotic to use these latest findings to make the case for abandoning Britain’s previous environmental leadership.

“It would also be politically suicidal, given the very strong and broad support for environmental action that exists across the electorate. And it is immoral, considering that both government and opposition recognize the gravity of the crisis we face.

“So it’s hard to believe that there really are people at the top of any of the major parties who are calling for a abandonment of green politics, but if there is, I can only hope that the electorate will press them when the time comes.”

Grace Reader

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@thehitc.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button