Conservative minister who signed Net Zero into law pledges to vote Labour

Thu 20 June 2024 View all news

The former Conservative energy minister Chris Skidmore and author of a recent review of net zero policy has said he intends to vote Labour for the first time because Rishi Sunak has been “siding with climate deniers” to politicise the energy transition.

Writing in the Guardian,  Skidmore says he cannot back the Tories, who he says are arguing that net zero is “a burden and not a benefit”. He adds that he believes that the Conservatives decision to politicise net zero would also cost it votes.

Skidmore accused the prime minister of breaking the consensus of the past on climate action to “seek division and polarisation”, saying it is the “greatest tragedy” of his premiership.

In his article, Chris Skidmore warns that "the UK now risks falling ever further behind in the net zero race".

"We have seen Rishi Sunak decide to prioritise new oil and gas expansion at a time when our fossil fuel industries are in rapid decline and will become stranded assets within decades. His decision to renege on net zero means the UK has scaled back on measures that would have saved households £8bn a year in lower energy costs. It has cost us the ability to lead in new technological markets and risks losing Britain the greatest economic opportunity in a generation."

Skidmore adds: "Worse still has been an extremist rhetoric that frames net zero policies as an imposition. This false narrative is the product of both ignorance and deliberate misinformation."

The former Conservative cabinet minister is the most senior figure yet to switch his support to Labour, after a small handful of Tory backbench defections to Labour.

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