MPs within the Conservative Party have expressed support for the prime minister’s u-turn as a way to help ‘hard-working Britons’ and voters in the Red Wall.
A campaign group has warned the prime minister could alienate nearly three quarters of the Tory voter base with his latest u-turn on green policy.
Dr. Amy McDonnell, co-director of Zero Hour, a large cross-party and grassroots campaign group for the Climate & Ecology Bill, told The Epoch Times that Conservative voters “overwhelmingly back environmental action.”
She said, “Seventy three percent back the net zero target—which is a higher proportion than among voters overall—and they rank the environment as the fourth most important issue facing the country.”
Ms. McDonnell continued, “Businesses, public bodies and environmental experts are crying out for ambition, commitment, and consistency from Rishi Sunak.”
The grassroots campaign, which has over 42,000 members, is keen to see the prime minister pay more immediate attention to the transition.
Ms. McDonnell added, “If the prime minister is truly serious about meeting the UK’s international commitments—to limit the global heating to 1.5°C, and to reverse nature loss by 2030—he should introduce a Climate & Ecology [CE] Bill in November’s King’s speech, and deliver a just transition to a fairer, greener future.”
The campaign lays out a plan for the UK to “do its bit” in achieving a slowing of global warming down to 1.5°C, and “reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.”
The CE Bill, originally introduced into parliament in 2021 as the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill by Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, was reintroduced as the CE Bill in May of this year, after originally failing to make it past a second reading in parliament.
Living Standards And Industry Should not Be ‘Zealously Sacrificed’
Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Romford, voiced concerns about the rapid transition to costly electric vehicles and heat pumps.
Speaking to The Epoch Times via email, he emphasised the need to balance environmental goals with the well-being of working people and national industries.
Mr. Rosindell stressed the importance of pursuing a pragmatic and proportionate approach to the net zero agenda, one that does not jeopardise living standards or the economy.
He said: “Working people cannot afford a rapidly accelerated transition to expensive electric cars and heat pumps.
“National industries that working people support, through their zeal and determination to provide for their families and contribute to national productivity, cannot afford it either.
“Neither personal living standards nor national industry should be zealously sacrificed on the altar of the net zero agenda.”
Highlighting the UK’s relatively low global emissions contribution, Mr. Rosindell added, “We want to conserve our precious environment for the next generation, but the United Kingdom must pursue a pragmatic and proportionate path that does not involve decimating living standards and the economy.”
Speaking about the expansion of industries, Ms. McDonall claimed: “The CE Bill would lower our energy bills, create jobs—restore our precious natural world—and save money for us all over the long-term.”
The opinions of grassroots Conservative members will be spotlighted by those seeking policy change, ahead of the party’s annual conference at the start of October.
Polling Shows Tory Opinions Differ as MPs Support Sunak
Recent polling found that within the Conservative voter base, opinions diverge, with 28 percent of respondents thinking that the government is under-reacting, while 43 percent believe it has struck the right balance.
The poll, by Opinium, highlighted that 46 percent of individuals, across the political spectrum, assert that they would oppose climate change policies—if these measures negatively impact their personal finances.
Just 22 percent would offer their support.
The data, released last month, indicates that at 56 percent, the majority of voters from various political backgrounds view climate change as a genuine issue. That is, as severe as it is often described.
The survey further reveals that over half of the general public, at 51 percent, believe the government’s response to climate change is insufficient, contrasting with 17 percent who feel it is an overreaction.