Nick Clegg accuses Tories and Labour of cooling on green issues in age of austerity
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Thursday 07 November 2013
Nick Clegg will today accuse David Cameron of abandoning the green agenda he once championed as he claims the Liberal Democrats are now the only mainstream party that gives priority to the environment.
In a speech to the Green Alliance, the Deputy Prime Minister will accuse both the Conservatives and Labour of cooling on green issues in the age of austerity. He will say: “Tony Blair entered Downing Street on a promise to put it right at the heart of government. The Conservatives asked us to vote blue in order to go green. And yet these days, across much of the Westminster village at least, the environment is being written off by campaign chiefs on both left and right: too expensive in hard times; a distraction from more pressing debates. On no other issue has the political establishment proved more fickle.”
Mr Clegg will add: “Our green industries need maximum political support. My Coalition partners talk a lot about winning the global race: well this is one area where we are in pole position and it would be a huge mistake to take our foot off the pedal now: economic myopia of the worst kind.”
He will attack Ed Miliband’s promise of a temporary freeze in energy prices if Labour wins power. “The only thing green about this policy is its naivety,” he will say. “Labour has undermined what was its one and only green pledge – a decarbonisation target – with a policy that would damage the very industry needed to deliver it. It is abandoning the environment to score a few populist points. It’s utterly Janus-faced.”
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