Boris Johnson tells Rishi Sunak not to ‘falter’ and abandon Net Zero
Rishi Sunak faces backlash over step back from Net Zero promises
Boris Johnson has made a last-minute intervention ahead of Rishi Sunak’s afternoon press conference, in which he is expected to jettison a number of key Net Zero pledges.
Mr Johnson, a keen proponent of environmental causes during his time in No. 10, has warned Mr Sunak not to “falter” on Net Zero and risk losing “our ambition for this country”.
He said: “Business must have certainty about our Net Zero commitments.
“This country leads on tackling climate change and in creating new green technology.
“The green Industrial Revolution is already generating huge numbers of high-quality jobs and helping to drive growth and level up our country.
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“Business and industry – such as motor manufacturing – are rightly making vast investments in these new technologies.
“It is those investments that will produce a low carbon future – at lower costs for British families.
“It is crucial that we give those businesses confidence that government is still committed to Net Zero and can see the way ahead.
“We cannot afford to falter now or in any way lose our ambition for this country.”
Despite bitterness about his ousting last year, Mr Johnson has been reluctant to create blue-on-blue attacks publicly.
His words ramp up an explosive civil war within the Tory Party that erupted yesterday afternoon following media reports of Mr Sunak’s impending Net Zero u-turns.
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MP Chris Skidmore, who was appointed by Liz Truss to lead the Government’s Net Zero review last year, repeatedly refused to deny plans to submit a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership.
Speaking on Newsnight, he said the move would be: “potentially the greatest mistake of [Mr Sunak’s] premiership so far”.
Lord Goldsmith, one of Mr Johnson’s longest-standing allies who resigned as an environment minister over Mr Sunak’s lack of commitment to the climate, has today demanded a General Election in light of the row.
He added Rishi Sunak is “dismantling the UK’s credibility”, and his “short stint as PM will be remembered as the moment the UK turned its back on the world and on future generations. A moment of shame”.
However Mr Sunak has also received widespread support for his decision, not least from Red Wall Tories who believe Net Zero commitments were going to harm constituents during the cost of living crisis.
Craig Mackinlay, chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny group of MPs told the Sun he is “pleased to see sensible pragmatism from the PM”.
“If reports of a delay to the rollout of unrealistic Net Zero measures are to be believed this is positive news for UK consumers.
“It will make previous pie in the sky ‘greenwash’ deadlines into something more achievable.”
Dame Andrea Jenkyns said she agreed “a million per cent” with the decision, and argued people in her northern constituency “don’t buy net zero”.
This morning, Home Secretary Suella Braverman argued the current Net Zero policies are “bankrupting the British people”.
Mr Sunak will make a public address from Downing Street at 4.30pm today.
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