Luddites! Nick Clegg mocks Tory right-wingers resisting green energy boost

Conservatives had abandoned 'very pro-green' language they used before election, he said

Deputy Political Editor

Conservative right-wingers resisting moves to boost green energy were mocked as "Luddites" today by Nick Clegg as he sought to stress policy differences between the Liberal Democrats and their Coalition partners.

The Deputy Prime Minister will underline the point with a visit today to an offshore wind farm accompanied by Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary.

Mr Clegg, who said the Conservatives had abandoned the "very pro-green" language they used before the election, said the Coalition had achieved record-breaking levels of investment in renewable energy.

"We have huge natural resources which allow us to lead in the global race to become the cutting-edge green economy in the world," he said.

"Not everybody agrees, of course. The Industrial Revolution had its Luddites and we have sceptics who still insist that if you are pro-Green you are somehow anti-growth. I could not disagree more."

In his regular monthly press conference, Mr Clegg admitted the Government was unlikely to keep its promise to introduce exit checks at every port and airport by 2015.

He said he was concerned over a lack of urgency by the Home Office over the project and disclosed he asked Liberal Democrat minister David Laws to put on pressure to the department to achieve the goal.

"I'm not going to pretend to you that exit checks will be restored in full, according to the Home Office's present plans, by the end of this Parliament," he said.

Mr Clegg was later contradicted by the Home Office, which insisted the Government would deliver on the commitment.

The Deputy Prime Minister also confirmed the Government would review the widespread use of zero-hour contracts by employers, as reported by the Independent in June.

"There can be a really worrying level of insecurity if you are an individual employed on a zero-hour contract," he said.

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