Labour MP’s have signed up to a lobby group in an attempt to persuade party leader Keir Starmer to make climate change a key part of his election manifesto.
According to The Guardian:
Previous Labour nature policies have been “trite”, MPs have said, arguing that the social justice case for climate and nature needs to be made more clearly by the party.
The Labour Climate and Environment Forum (LCEF) launches on Tuesday in parliament and is now signing up MPs, councillors and peers. The group argues “that tackling the climate and environment emergency is an issue of social justice and economic prosperity that should sit comfortably at the heart of the movement as a core Labour value”.
Members plan to write open letters to the Labour leadership on environment policy, and organise backbenchers to have coherent messaging.
They also want to ensure all policy areas from planning to transport have an environmental agenda. LCEF has already produced some research that found voters warmed to Starmer; after hearing him talk about the environment, people were more than 12 percentage points more likely to think Labour was the best party for the economy.
MPs have spoken of frustration at the success of the Conservative Environment Network, a group of more than 150 Tory parliamentarians that has managed to push a coherent message on nature and the environment in the party.
Many Labour figures think they should be the natural party of climate, nature and social justice, but have been overtaken in terms of rhetoric by the Conservatives.
Helmed by the former Labour policy adviser Paul McNamee, the new group is hoping to do the same for Labour, which has been accused by wildlife and climate campaigners of not having a coherent policy on nature, and abandoning plans for a “green new deal”.
Its flagship climate and energy policies have been criticised as weak by the leftwing group Momentum and some trade union figures.
MPs who have already signed up include Kerry McCarthy, the shadow climate minister, and Darren Jones, who chairs the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee…
McNamee, who has worked for wildlife organisations including the RSPB, sought advice from the Conservative Environment Network when setting up the group.
“Particularly in the climate movement, there’s a recognition that the Conservative Environment Network exists, and they’ve done an extremely good job at keeping net zero and climate at the heart of the government,” he said.
McNamee says the Labour group aims to assure the leadership that “climate and nature policies are actually extremely popular with the general public. It’s not this kind of fringe issue that it was once viewed to be.”
He added: “The thing about climate and environment is the solution to it is going to sit across several government departments – it’s housing, and it’s planning and it’s transport.
It’s going to need a real effort from across government. Climate action is no longer just about addressing climate and environmental impact. It’s absolutely key to the future economy of this country.”