Green conservatives launch new Westminster caucus

CEN has launched its new MPs' Caucus and Membership to give conservative environmentalists a platform to drive their agenda in Westminster. The two groups formalise CEN's structure and offer opportunities to get involved with the Network. Made up of a wide range of Conservative backbenchers including former Cabinet Ministers, current Select Committee chairs, and rising stars from the 2015 and 2017 intakes, the CEN caucus will work together to support bold action from the Government on decarbonisation and conservation.

Sam Richards, Director of CEN said,

"Many MPs have been working for years to promote centre-right environmentalism, but with a dynamic new set of Ministers, and the environmental opportunities from leaving the European Union, interest has grown rapidly in the past year. We're now formalising our network of parliamentary supporters with our Caucus of MPs to drive the agenda forward in Westminster, and our Membership for advisers, researchers and anyone else supportive of conservative environmentalism.

This is the next step in CEN's growth as we promote conservative answers to environmental questions. The Government has made great progress on protecting our environment - from the 25 Year Environmental Plan to the Government's recent net zero commitment - but while there is a lot to celebrate, there's still much more to do to ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we found it."

Ben Goldsmith, the Chair of CEN's Board said,

"As we leave the European Union we have a golden opportunity to protect and enhance our natural inheritance. This new Parliamentary caucus will bring together CEN's wide network of MPs to deliver on our ambitious environmental plans."

CEN MPs have signed up to support action on seven core principles on the natural environment, rural areas, climate change, clean growth, housing, conservation and air pollution.

CEN MP Rebecca Pow said,

“I’m looking forward to working with my CEN colleagues to make progress on a range of issues, from plastics to conservation, land use issues, clean technologies to reduce greenhouse emissions and much more besides. CEN is a space for ideas to grow and campaigners to come together, and there’s never been a better time for action."

Ben Stafford, Head of Campaigns at WWF said,

“We welcome this commitment by Conservative MPs to make progress on environmental issues. Tackling climate change and reversing nature’s decline are two of the challenges of our generation and we need political champions to ensure they stay high on the agenda. WWF works across the political parties, and hopes this initiative can be part of a race to the top among our politicians to make the UK a global environmental leader.”

Leading the Membership side of the Network will be the CEN Ambassadors, leaders in their sectors who will focus on specific policy areas.

CEN Ambassador Barnaby Wharton, the Head of Policy at RenewableUK, heads up the Renewable Energy brief. Barnaby said,

"This is an exciting next step for CEN, bringing together conservative environmentalists looking to make a difference. There are lots of Conservatives working in this space and it’s vital that the party, at all levels, is talking about leadership on climate and how we best protect our environment. CEN is the perfect platform for that."

NOTE TO EDITORS

The MPs Caucus includes: Peter Aldous, Heidi Allen, Richard Benyon, Alex Chalk, Simon Clarke, Robert Courts, Vicky Ford, Zac Goldsmith, Richard Graham, James Gray, James Heappey, Kevin Hollinrake, Oliver Letwin, Tim Loughton, Scott Mann, Matthew Offord, Rebecca Pow, Amber Rudd, Henry Smith, Sir Nicholas Soames, David Warburton and Sarah Wollaston.

Anyone interested in becoming a member can sign up via CEN's website. Membership costs £20 a year and includes access to CEN's fortnightly newsletter, regular events with MPs, Ambassadors and other members.