16 Liberal Democrats rebel and vote for 2030 decarbonisation target

Battersea Power StationAn amendment to the Energy Bill which would have set a target for carbon emissions target for the power industry was defeated by just 23 votes tonight. 16 Liberal Democrat MPs backed the amendment while 30 voted against it.

10 of the 16 are already on the Friends of the Earth website (plus Mike Hancock, who temporarily withdrew from the Whip last night).

They are:

Andrew George

Greg Mulholland

Julian Huppert

John Hemming

John Leech

Martin Horwood

Roger Williams

Andrew Stunnell

Mark Williams

Adrian Sanders

In addition, Tim Farron and Gordon Birtwistle supported it and Mike Thornton in his first act of rebellion since his election and Charles Kennedy tweeted their support.

The final rebels, and thanks to Duncan Borrowman and James King for telling me so on Twitter, were Annette Brooke and John Pugh.

The rebels’ votes were consistent with policy passed at Party Conference last September.

UPDATE: In fact, although Charles supported the target, he didn’t take part in the vote. Our 16th rebel, as you can see from the comments below, was Stephen Williams, making his first vote against the whip.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Tony Dawson 4th Jun '13 - 10:23pm

    Don’t those 16 MPs know they’re not meant to vote for Liberal Democrat policies? 🙁

  • Al McIntosh 4th Jun '13 - 11:29pm

    Once again the will of the majority of Scotland’s elected representatives is overruled at Westminster. Scotland has its own decarbonisation target but being fettered together with the UK is holding it back. This adds to the many issues where the behaviour of Westminster itself has shown that best way to deliver good Lib Dem policies in Scotland is through full independence following a Yes vote in next year’s referendum.

  • The words ‘final’ and ‘straw’ spring to mind…

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 5th Jun '13 - 7:52am

    Thanks, Stephen. I had info that he was in favour of the amendment. I’ll amend the post.

  • Steve Griffiths 5th Jun '13 - 11:54am

    Are not the two key questions for those Lib Dem MPs that voted against the amendment, as follows:

    1) Would you have voted FOR the amendment had you not been ‘whipped? And

    2) Do you consider leaving our planet in a reasonable condition more, or less important, than any coalition agreement?

    It would be interesting to hear from some of them.

  • Chris Tatton 5th Jun '13 - 12:53pm

    A big “thank you” to those 16 Lib Dem MPs who voted for a 2030 decarb target. As a Liberal supporter for over 30 years I am absolutely gutted by yesterday’s vote.

    Interesting comment from Donna Hume from Friends of the Earth..” What’s my biggest disappointment? It has to be the Lib Dem leadership’s complete failure to stand by their climate change commitments – and their decision to side with George Osborne’s polluting dash for gas.”

  • Simon McGrath 5th Jun '13 - 1:21pm

    Bit diffcult to know how any MP could vote for this given that it is crucially dependdnt on CO2 capture .. which may work in the future but doesnt work now.

  • Eduardo Goncalves 5th Jun '13 - 1:52pm

    I confess to being perplexed that there was a LibDem whip against decarbonisation targets. While I admit to having occasionally found some of what our Ministers and parliamentary party has done in support of the coalition difficult to support, I am not against coalition or compromise per se. In a professional capacity I have – outside of the UK – sometimes worked with curious coalitions that have nevertheless been effective.

    However it is essential in such arrangements that individual parties make clear where their lines in the sand are, and I would have thought clean energy/low carbon development was such a clear LibDem line. Such a policy makes little sense though without a clear, declared decarbonisation target.

    It will now be difficult for Lib Dems to maintain credibility on clean energy/climate change in the light of yesterday’s vote. For that reason I am surprised there were so few rebels on what one would have thought was an issue fundamental to Lib Dems (as well as being party policy, of course).

    The parliamentary party has an important role to play in ensuring our Ministers defend LibDem priorities in government. And party members have an equally important role in ensuring the parliamentary party performs such a role.

    While it is understandable for people to express their concerns on LDV (and elsewhere) at what our Government Ministers do in our name, it is also incumbent upon us all to ensure that the parliamentary party is properly held to account.

  • Robert Hamilton 6th Jun '13 - 9:21am

    Well said, Eduardo. I make a guess that Ed Davey has done a deal with the Tories and he is not telling us what it is. You probably have experience of such things. I am still a novice about the mysteries of coalition governments.

  • Peter Watson 6th Jun '13 - 9:56am

    Listening to Michael Fallon this morning, it would appear that Ed Davey’s deal involves making it more difficult for onshore wind farms to be developed.

  • Tom Snowdon 6th Jun '13 - 5:23pm

    What’s the point in having party policy when the parliamentary leadership whips against it? How can we hold them to account? Or do we not have democratic accountability in the Lib Dems? What has to change, conference policy or the leadership?

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