VoteClimate: Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government - 18th July 2022

Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government - 18th July 2022

Here are the climate-related sections of speeches by MPs during the Commons debate Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.

Full text:

17:02 The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson)

On this sweltering day, let me remind the House that there are very few Governments in the world who could have organised a COP26 summit so far-reaching in its impacts. I thank my right hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma) for what he did: committing 90% of the world to net zero by 2050, moving the world beyond the use of coal, moving from fossil-fuelled cars to electric vehicles, planting billions of trees around the world and launching the clean green initiative as we did at Carbis Bay, by which G7 Governments will now leverage the trillions of the private sector to help the developing world to use the clean, green technologies that offer economic as well as environmental salvation.

Last week I went up in one of our 148 Typhoon fighters, and I flew out over the North sea, over Doggerland. The drowned prairies are now being harvested again with tens of gigawatts of clean green energy. We will have 50 GW of offshore wind by 2050, and thanks to this Government’s activism I am proud to say that offshore wind is now cheaper than onshore wind. I looked down at that ghostly white forest of windmills in the sea, financed with ever growing sums from international investors, and I thought, “This is how we will fix our energy problems; this is how Europe should be ending its dependence on Putin’s gas.” I am proud of the way we have responded to the challenge, with a nuclear reactor every year rather than one every 10 years—or none at all, as was the ridiculous and catastrophic policy of the last Labour Government.


17:31 Keir Starmer (Labour)

The war in eastern Ukraine drags on; the Nord Stream pipeline has been shut down; flights are being cancelled left, right and centre; and Britain is facing an unprecedent heat wave, as our climate changes in front of our very eyes. These are serious challenges —[Interruption.] Conservative Members do not think that these are challenges. These are serious issues that will require serious leadership. Hard decisions will have to be made. This is not the summer for Downing Street to be occupied by a vengeful squatter mired in scandal. Every day they leave him there, every hustings they refuse to distance themselves from his appalling behaviour and every vote they cast today to prop him up is a dereliction of duty. It is a reminder that the Prime Minister has only been able to do what he has done because he is enabled by a corrupted Conservative party every step, every scandal and every party along the way.


17:49 Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP)

The need to put an end to this Tory Government is underlined by the terrifying spectacle of the leadership race under way throughout this building. No sooner had the race begun than it became clear that it was not just a race to get into Downing Street; it was a race to the toxic right. The policy proposals so far have amounted to tax cuts for the rich at the same time as millions of families are struggling to put food on the table, to watering down our climate targets when we can literally feel temperatures soaring, particularly in this place, and to doubling down on the hostile environment when the Rwanda policy has already gone beyond the point of morality.


19:07 Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye) (Con)

We have delivered the biggest reforms to our railways in 25 years, with simpler, modern fares and reliable services. We have begun the accession process to join the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, giving UK businesses access to one of the world’s largest and most dynamic free trade areas. We hosted COP26 in Glasgow last year, helping to drive ambitious climate change action around the world, and we passed the world-leading Environment Act 2021, ensuring that the environment is at the heart of this Government’s agenda. We also passed the Agriculture Act 2020, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, the Building Safety Act 2022, the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022, and the Nationality and Borders Act 2022. We have seen the plan for jobs, upskilling and reskilling, and a focus on education, giving every pupil in England a funding boost so that all children have the same opportunities to succeed. We have invested in levelling up parts of the country that have been long overlooked and neglected, including through the levelling-up fund and the towns fund deals. Hastings received £24.3 million, leveraging another £85 million in private sector funding. I could go on.


19:12 Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) (SNP)

What is even more concerning is the manner in which the Prime Minister’s successor is being selected. What started out as a sort of political beauty pageant has become a carnival of reactionary ideas, as the contestants vie with each other to see who can be the most right-wing. The reason is simple. They are not appealing to the Conservative parliamentary party, they are appealing to a narrow and narrow-minded section of the electorate quite unlike the people among whom they live: the Conservative party membership. How else can we explain that, as the country burns, not a single candidate has anything to say about the climate emergency? How else can we explain that they are talking about tax cuts on business profits, rather than action to help ordinary families with the cost of living crisis?


19:18 Andy Carter (Warrington South) (Con)

Our first duty as Members of Parliament is always to our constituents and the areas that we are honoured to represent in this place. What have the Government been doing for the past two and half years for Warrington? We have been levelling up transport, with Warrington benefiting from £42 million of Government investment. We are replacing our entire fleet of buses with 120 new zero-emission electric buses. We have been tackling environmental issues and ensuring that we have cleaner and better air quality. We have been improving services for local people and reducing the cost.


19:21 Ms Lyn Brown (West Ham) (Lab)

The Tory party has finally done the right thing, but frankly it is too late, and it is superficial. There is not going to be real change. The Tory record of destruction, division and chaos continues. The country is boiling but the leadership candidates will not credibly address climate change. They have said little to nothing about it—I think they must live on a different planet. All they can manage is to argue against the tax hikes that they voted for just weeks ago. When they are not doing that, they are trying to divide our communities based on frivolous nonsense. We would be better off if they talked about stopping climate heating or how to stop the NHS falling apart, but that does not seem to match the priorities of Tory donors.


19:32 Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire) (Con)

I have full confidence in this Government, for three reasons. First, no captain is more important than their team, and on the Government side of the House we have a very strong team. Secondly, the Government have delivered for the country as a whole; a lot of my colleagues have rehearsed the arguments about Brexit, covid, Ukraine and, indeed, net zero. Thirdly, this Government have delivered for my constituency of South Cambridgeshire. I was elected to represent the interests of my constituents, and the Government have had a real impact on their lives.


19:36 Chi Onwurah (Labour)

I have no confidence in this Government because they have decided to do without a science Minister, even as they say that science is essential to our economic recovery. I have no confidence in this Government because, as our nation faces a lethal heatwave—one so severe that the rail links between Westminster and my constituency have been severed, and the NHS is braced for a wave of heatstroke victims—the Prime Minister prefers to play “Top Gun” rather than turning up for Cobra meetings. I have no confidence in this Government because the candidates to replace the disgraced Prime Minister are so mired in mud-slinging that they barely mention health, education, jobs or the environment, and have now cancelled further debates because they are so embarrassing. I have no confidence in this Government because they appear to be in an arms race to slash taxes, cut the state, and “postpone”, or abandon, our commitment to net zero carbon emissions.

As we swelter in this country, we should remember that the whole of Europe is less than two thirds the size of the Sahara desert. If we do not meet the climate challenge, the Sahara is coming for us. If the Government think that net zero commitments are “expensive”, they should try costing the retrofitting of air conditioning in every home and school and every other building in the country. That will be but a small part of what it will cost us.


20:35 Rupa Huq (Labour)

As we have seen today, the PM who as a child wanted to be world king has become King Canute, still defiant and partying to the end, characteristically skipping Cobra meetings—if not quite fiddling while Rome burns, then partying while the country roasts. It brings to mind those suitcases being wheeled down Whitehall on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. Meanwhile, our fellow citizens face huge challenges: climate change-induced heatwave, looming strikes, inflation, cost of living crisis, energy crisis, record NHS backlog, passports backlog, Home Office backlog, courts backlog—backlog Britain.


20:49 Gill Furniss (Labour)

The Conservative party is truly unfit to govern, as it has shown time and again. I am of course pleased to finally see the back of the Prime Minister, but it is clear that whoever takes over cannot be trusted to truly level up. Instead of focusing on the real issues facing people, leadership candidates are trying to stoke culture wars and divide communities. Today, the Met Office warns that unprecedented heatwaves pose a significant risk of death, but the leadership candidates are not prepared to step up to the serious threats posed by climate change. They instead want to water down net zero targets and roll back green initiatives. Perhaps that is not surprising, given that one candidate has seemingly accepted tens of thousands of pounds in donations from a notorious climate change denier. The Conservative party is out of touch, out of ideas and, I hope, soon to be out of power. A new leader will not change any of that.


21:01 Tony Lloyd (Rochdale) (Lab)

There was the attempt to keep Owen Paterson in office, and the overriding of Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister’s ethics adviser, who declared that the Home Secretary had broken the ministerial code of conduct. Of course those things are important and matter, but it matters even more that nearly 40% of children in my constituency are living in poverty. In some wards the figure is as high as one in two children. That matters, and the Government are failing abysmally to deal with such things. They should be ashamed. It matters that climate change—the biggest issue our nation faces—hardly got a mention by the Prime Minister or anybody else on the Government Benches. Climate change makes a difference to the futures of children in my constituency, and to children across the planet. The Government are failing on those issues on a day-to-day basis.


21:16 Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP)

The Government’s failures are legion, whether we are talking about PPE contracts, the people excluded from support schemes, the failure to support businesses through the cost of living crisis, or the Home Office’s ludicrous incompetence, as I know from all manner of constituents I see in my surgeries on a Friday. The Government are completely neglecting the COP26 legacy, just as we see the climate crisis on our doorstep here in Parliament.


21:40 Angela Rayner (Labour)

What of the crises facing us now? On the cost of living crisis, the Government have no answers. On climate change, they have no answers. On backlog Britain, they have no answers. They are not just asleep at the wheel; they are steering us straight into the eye of the storm. It is no wonder that so many hon. Members have drawn the conclusion that Britain needs a fresh start. My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford West (Naz Shah) summed up this Government’s record on tackling Islamophobia.


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