Has Tory leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch folded on Net Zero? That’s what the Guardian would have us believe. The newspaper reports that Kemi did a “U-turn” during the recent hustings in Parliament and backed the green target.
Kemi Badenoch has backed the Government’s target of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050 and vowed not to unpick current climate commitments in an apparent U-turn at the Tory leadership environment hustings.
The MP for Saffron Walden had previously likened the target to “unilateral economic disarmament” but under questioning from Alok Sharma, the COP26 President, at the hustings in Parliament on Monday she said she backed it.
All five remaining leadership candidates have now backed Net Zero.
The way this is reported sounds like a forced confession for the benefit of the alarmist faithful. You can hear some of what she said in the recent TV debate here (though not the interrogation in the Parliament hustings by the Grand Climate Inquisitor).
In case there was room for doubt, Mrs Badenoch subsequently clarified in an interview on TalkTV with Tom Newton Dunn that she would be prepared to delay the target.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch has said she would be prepared to delay the U.K.’s target to hit Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, as the U.K. experiences one of the hottest days on record. Speaking to TalkTV’s the News Desk, Badenoch said if she became Prime Minister, she would tackle climate change in a way “that doesn’t bankrupt our economy”.
The former Equalities Minister also told TalkTV that she did not believe that the Tory leadership contest had become nasty and said many of the candidates were friends but it was right that they were having disagreements in public. In the wide-ranging interview with Tom Newton Dunn, Badenoch also addressed the attention surrounding her views on the transgender debate; set out her stall for why she thinks she has proved so popular with Conservative members and shared her experience of being the only woman working on a building site with 300 men.
Kemi as the straight-talking, anti-woke, Net-Zero sceptical candidate (who also, I understand, opposed vaccine passports from within Government, though behind closed doors) is a breath of fresh air and clearly what the party needs to move forward on issues where the ‘orthodox’ position is increasingly at odds with public opinion and the needs of the country.
Among Tory members at least, Kemi is in tune with their priorities, with the Times reporting that Net Zero has dropped to the bottom of members’ priority list.
Conservative Party members care very little about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, polling shows.
Only 4% of those surveyed said that hitting the target of Net-Zero emissions by 2050 was one of their three priorities for the next Tory leader.
Members said the most pressing concern was winning the next election, followed by controlling immigration and helping families with the cost of living, a YouGov survey for the Times showed.
In April a poll for the think tank Onward found that 64% of all voters supported the Government’s plans to hit Net Zero. 9% were opposed.
In the YouGov poll, 56% of the Tory party members surveyed said that winning the next election was the most important issue. Hitting Net Zero came bottom of a list of ten policy areas, behind cutting personal taxes, increasing defence spending and strengthening Britain’s global standing.
Other polls show that Kemi would likely win among party members if she were to reach the final two – which, sadly, may just make MPs more determined to deny members the candidate they want and keep her out. If they do achieve that goal (as seems likely) then more fool them. And if it ends up being super-woke Penny Mordaunt instead, who plainly could never lead the Conservatives to election victory, then they have only themselves to blame.