Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton is set to rebel against the Government in a clash over green energy targets.
The move will pit the Hampshire MP against Chancellor George Osborne and the Conservative Party, with Mike Thornton branding green scepticism within the party as ‘backwards’.
Mr Thornton has pledged his support for renewable energy and green jobs in Eastleigh by becoming the latest Member of Parliament to back a move to clean up UK power and tackle climate change.
The Liberal Democrat MP is to support an amendment to the Energy Bill, tabled by a group of cross party MPs, which would set the Government a legal target to remove carbon emissions from the UK’s power supply by 2030.
Over 100 businesses already support a ‘decarbonisation target’ and campaigners argue the target will provide the certainty needed to boost long term investment and job creation. A green target would also curb rising household bills by reducing our reliance on gas, and ensure we combat spiralling carbon emissions that cause harmful climate change.
Just last week the Governments independent advisors, The Committee on Climate Change, estimated that a green energy target would save bill payers £25-45 billion, rising to £100 billion with higher gas and carbon prices.
Commenting, Mike Thornton MP said:
"The Energy Bill is a once in a generation chance to secure a clean energy future – it means more jobs and investment, lower household bills for local families, and less dependency on foreign oil and gas."
"At the moment the green economy supports almost a million jobs and is helping us tackle climate change. But companies will only invest in Eastleigh and Hampshire long-term if there’s a clear pathway for renewable energy. A 2030 target will give security to investors and create thousands of new jobs, while protecting our environment for the future."
Mr Thornton also attacked the Conservative Party over its green scepticism.
The Hampshire MP said, "I am concerned that a lack of strong action now will fail the next generation. There is an element within the Conservative Party that denies the benefits that green investment is already delivering for our economy. Missing this opportunity with the Green Deal would be a backwards step."
Mr Thornton continued, "Locally we are making fantastic progress in tackling climate change. Eastleigh Borough Council has been recognised as a Beacon Council for cutting emissions and achieved carbon neutral status last year. Sadly, not all councils and industries are willing to take the lead without legally binding targets. The government needs to show clear leadership on this issue by setting a target in the Energy Bill to cut the carbon from our electricity by 2030."