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We can't wave a white flag in the net zero race

As a Red Wall MP, I know how crucial net zero is to making good on our promises to voters who lent their votes to the Conservatives in 2019.

They didn't only switch to our party because they felt ignored and let down by decades of Labour representation and betrayed by those who wanted to disregard their Brexit vote.

These proud former industrial heartlands backed us because we promised to level up the country, deliver better-paid jobs, and invest in the north of England's transport and public services.

There's no doubt that the best way to deliver this transformation is through a green industrial revolution. With 90 per cent of the world's economy now under net zero targets, there is a global race to lead the world in decarbonisation and win new clean industries.

Whether it's new electric car factories, constructing wind turbines, producing hydrogen or the countless other things needed to combat climate change, this is our opportunity to create a more prosperous and industrious Britain.

Net zero is key to my ambition which minsters share to make Doncaster a regional super-hub, creating new jobs, businesses, and a strong local economy. It's why the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing is looking to set up a new base near the Doncaster-Sheffield Airport.

With the cost of going green constantly falling as technology advances and industries are scaled up, the substantial economic reward of achieving net zero by 2050 will help pay for our schools, NHS and national defence.

It's also the best way to lower bills and reduce the cost of living now. More gas won't fix the energy crisis as fossil fuel rich autocrats like Putin set the price. But cheap British renewables and insulation will cut household energy bills.

That's why it's no surprise that this poll shows that 34 per cent of Red Wall voters would be less likely to vote Conservative again if the government weakened net zero.

If we wave the white flag in the worldwide race for a decarbonised economy, we would be surrendering new jobs and industries to other nations. That flies in the face of levelling up.

As the first Conservative MP in Doncaster in six decades, representing the wonderful constituency of Don Valley, I know that voters want to see us stick with our climate ambitions because it promises to level up our community and our nation.

First published by the Daily Express. Nick Fletcher MP (Don Valley) is a member of the Conservative Environment Network.

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