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We'll lose seats if Sunak dilutes net zero, warn blue wall Tories

Rishi Sunak is facing a backlash from blue wall Tory MPs who have said that he will cost them their seats at the next election if he panders to the right of the party on climate change.

Derek Thomas, the Tory MP for St Ives, said that although “many rural communities have no choice but to use expensive oil to heat their homes” this meant the government should be more ambitious in its schemes.

He said: “Reaching net zero should be an opportunity to cut their bills while tackling climate change. That’s why it’s so essential the government offers grants to fuel-poor homes for insulation and heat pumps and looks at incentives like stamp duty cuts to help people pay for home upgrades.

“It’s right we debate how we achieve our goals but voters don’t want to see us backtrack on climate change.”

Siobhan Baillie, the Conservative MP for Stroud, said: “Ambitious green policies that cut bills and create jobs are an electoral asset, not a liability.”

Jo Gideon, the Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “With global competition intensifying we should accelerate our efforts, not backtrack.”

She said minimising costs was key “but we shouldn’t wave the white flag when we could be trailblazers for the next Industrial Revolution”.

Sam Hall, director of the Conservative Environment Network, which has the backing of more than 150 Tory parliamentarians and 400 councillors, said: “While a few loud siren voices within the Conservative movement want to ditch net zero, they are in the minority.

“Overwhelmingly Conservative MPs and the party’s voters support climate action to protect the environment for future generations, attract new industries and strengthen our energy security. Few votes can be won by rolling back on green targets, but many could be lost.”


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