Anti-green talk will cost seats, PM warned

Lib Dems will reap credit for environmentalist policies, 'Turquoise Tories' tell Cameron

David Cameron has been personally warned by a group of his MPs that he risks losing seats to the Liberal Democrats at the next election unless he takes on anti-environmental "dog whistling" from Tory ministers.

A group of 12 "Turquoise Tories" met the Prime Minister in Downing Street last week to express their concerns that some ministers, including the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and the Energy Minister John Hayes, are killing off the Conservatives' green agenda with anti-wind farm rhetoric and allowing Nick Clegg's party to take the credit for coalition environmentalism.

The latest salvo in the coalition's battle over the environment came yesterday when Mr Paterson told a newspaper that wind turbines were "inappropriate technology which matured in the Middle Ages" and were "doing real damage" to areas of British countryside.

The Prime Minister attempted to stave off a "Turquoise rebellion" by asking the group to put forward new ideas on renewable energy and other environmental measures for Mr Cameron to push in the New Year.

The 12 included Tim Yeo, the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, Ben Gummer and Laura Sandys, a ministerial aide to the Climate Change Minister Greg Barker. A number of MPs also attended who are not known for their pro-green stance but are thought to be concerned about the Government missing out on investment in the low carbon economy. They included Gordon Henderson, Andrew Percy and Peter Aldous. Nicola Blackwood, who was not present at the meeting but is also understood to have concerns, has a 176-vote majority over the Lib Dems in Oxford West and Abingdon.

A source said: "There are concerns that the whole green agenda is being contracted to the Lib Dems, that we are failing to carve out a distinct Tory agenda on green issues and that we have gone back on our manifesto pledges. It's important that we stick to our green guns."

Yet any attempt by the Prime Minister to renew his pledge to "vote blue, go green" will be met with scepticism among environmentalists. He recently blocked the appointment of David Kennedy, the chief executive of the government's Climate Change Committee, as permanent secretary at the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Last week, Mr Osborne gave the go-ahead for tax breaks for shale gas extraction.

The Government's Gas Strategy, published last week, reveals plans to dismantle the government's future climate change targets. The document suggests ministers are planning to revise upwards the fourth carbon budget, agreed in 2011, which sets out targets for carbon emissions between 2023 and 2027.

At the same time, the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that energy prices will continue to rise, sending gas and electricity bills soaring. Labour's Energy spokeswoman, Caroline Flint, said: "With warnings of more price hikes to come, it's clearer than ever why we need to break the dominance of the energy giants, open up the energy market and create a tough new energy regulator with the power to force energy companies to pass on savings to consumers."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Sales Consultant / Presales Engineer / Sales Engineer

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is Europe's indust...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Technician

£17020 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Aerospace company is looki...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen