Rishi Sunak – please spare us the gaslighting, by Alex Martin 

Bridgwater Labour Party Policy Officer Alex Martin

In a desperate scramble for votes, Sunak deals a body blow to Net Zero through a shocking climbdown on his commitments to tackling climate change, whilst also scrapping policies that never existed in the first place.  Sunak’s propensity to manipulate reality has raised eyebrows, if not sea temperatures. He announced last week that his government would scrap proposals on taxes on eating meat or going on holidays, and stop forcing people to car share or sort their rubbish into seven different bins. The only trouble is that these policies didn’t exist in the first place. And if they did, then they would, presumably, have been his policies to begin with.

Now consumers will still be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, instead of the earlier deadline of 2030. 

By pushing back targets for the transition from new fossil fuel cars to electric vehicles, Sunak has robbed car manufactures of certainty as they were already braced for the 2030 date.

Sunak needs to show leadership by stopping the flip-flopping and the shenanigans. Rather than kicking the issue of the climate crisis into the long grass, we need to focus on investing in green energy in a way that makes new technology attractive and affordable. We need to think creatively. If a roof can have a chimney, it can also have a wind turbine or a solar panel. And I am certain we have enough clever engineers who can design car batteries that charge just as quickly as it takes to fill up a tank at a petrol station – or faster.

Rowing back and watering down climate targets are not good enough to deal with the serious problems facing us all.

Until June 2023, the West London constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip was a safe Tory seat. Then a by-election happened and the Tory majority was slashed to a mere 495 votes. The party believes it was able to cling on by bashing the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone. Sunak is now gambling that by rolling back on other green policies for the rest of the UK, he too can survive the next general election.

Sunak is panicking about the election and he is more than willing to sacrifice the health of the planet for the sake of his own political survival. We need to put a stop to that.

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