Conservative MSP joins donor to hit out at party’s net zero U-turn


A SENIOR Scottish Conservative has attacked Rishi Sunak’s watering down of plans to tackle climate change, and accused the prime minister of “dragging net zero into the territory of culture wars”.

Writing in The Times today, Maurice Golden, the MSP for North East Scotland, has condemned Sunak’s decision to push back a number of green targets. 

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The prime minister announced on Wednesday that the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel car sales would be pushed back until 2035.

Mr Sunak also unveiled a weakening of measures forcing households to replace gas and oil boilers with expensive heat pumps and make energy efficiency upgrades, although this will not apply in Scotland.

Tory strategists believe that the move will be popular with swing voters in key constituencies. 

But Mr Golden, who has been an MSP since 2016 and backed Mr Sunak to be prime minister, said the changes would “polarise communities” and make it more difficult to convince people of the need for climate change initiatives.

He said: “I understand fully why it was done from a political perspective, but it’s a regressive move that isn’t just damaging environmentally, but economically and socially too. 

“It drags net zero into the territory of culture wars.”

Donor also criticises move

Meanwhile, the biggest donor to the Conservative Party before the last election has said there is “no chance whatsoever” of him backing Rishi Sunak after the prime minister’s green policy U-turn.

The billionaire John Caudwell said he is now considering whether to switch allegiance to Labour after being left “beyond shocked” at the “madness” of Sunak’s reversal on reforms brought in by Boris Johnson.

The founder of the now defunct mobile phone retailer Phones4U, donated £500,000 to the Conservative Party before the 2019 election. 

He told The Sunday Times: “If Rishi sticks to this, would I donate to the Conservative Party? Absolutely not. No chance whatsoever with the decisions they are making at the moment.

“Would I switch to Labour? The answer to that is very simple: I will support any party that I believe will do the right thing for Britain going forward.”

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