Tory civil war explodes as Boris ally demands election now in fury at Sunak
Suella Braverman grilled on commitment to Net Zero pledge
A Boris Johnson ally has demanded a general election “now” in fury at Rishi Sunak weakening green pledges.
The Prime Minister is expected to row back on net zero policies in a major announcement in Downing Street at 4.30pm.
The move has split the Tories with outrage from the environmental wing of the party.
Tory peer Lord Goldsmith, who quit as environment minister in June with a scathing attack on Mr Sunak’s climate “apathy”, called for an immediate general election.
He said: “I have had 00s of messages from Conservative friends in Government, Parliament and around the world telling me this move by the PM vindicates my decision to noisily resign.
READ MORE: Rishi Sunak prepares to make public announcement after major leak
“I didn’t want vindication. I hoped it would add pressure on the Government to prove me and others wrong. We need an election. Now.”
Mr Sunak held a hastily arranged call with Cabinet ministers this morning after speculation about his plans emerged last night.
A speech had been due to take place later this week but the leak to the BBC appears to have prompted Downing Street to bring the announcement forward.
Measures being looked at include pushing back the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
In a statement on Tuesday night, the Prime Minister insisted the Government remains committed to the 2050 net zero target but will achieve it “in a better, more proportionate way”.
He said that politicians “of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs” and have “taken the easy way out, saying we can have it all”.
Mr Sunak, who is attempting to draw a dividing line with Labour before the next election, sought to position himself as the bringer of “real change” who would “put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment”.
But former prime minister Mr Johnson insisted “we cannot afford to falter now or in any way lose our ambition for this country”.
Ex-Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma warned that watering down green policies could cost the Tories votes.
And Chris Skidmore, a Tory former energy minister who led a government-commissioned review on net zero, did not rule out submitting a letter of no confidence in Mr Sunak.
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There was also alarm from the car industry, which has invested on the basis of a 2030 shift away from petrol and diesel.
However there was delight among Conservatives who have campaigned against net zero policies for for fear the price of going green will cost the party votes.
Craig Mackinlay, leader of the Tory Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said the expected announcements by Mr Sunak were “sensible and pragmatic”.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman this morning insisted “we are not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people”.
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