Author Archives: Chris Huhne MP

Chris Huhne MP writes: Check, switch, insulate to save

No government can control volatile world energy prices. But we can still help people get their energy bills down. So today I am bringing together industry, consumer groups and the regulator Ofgem for an energy summit that will focus on getting people the help they need to reduce their bills in time for this winter.

As Liberal Democrats we have long argued that in the long run the only way to reduce bills is to improve energy saving in our homes, and to invest in more energy generation at home to end our reliance on imported fossil fuels. But there …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Chris Huhne’s speech to Liberal Democrat conference

One abiding set of values that all Liberal Democrats share is a respect for our environment, natural systems and sustainability.

With this conference’s backing, we will hold course to be the greenest government ever.

No more, no less.

But are we still on course?

Well, I can hardly pick up a Tory paper these days without a whinge about energy and climate change policies.

It’s been nip and tuck between Vince and me in recent months to win an unpopularity poll – that’s on Conservativehome among Tory activists.

So as we assert Lib Dem values within government, we must be doing something right – or is …

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Chris Huhne MP writes: Electricity market reform: keeping the lights on in the cheapest, cleanest way

Last week I unveiled the coalition government’s proposals for the most radical reform of the electricity market since privatisation in the 1980s. The plans set out in the White Paper aim to keep the UK’s lights on and consumer bills down and shift the economy away from a high-risk, high-carbon future.

With a quarter of the UK’s generating capacity shutting down over the next ten years, as old coal and nuclear power stations close, it’s clear that we have a Herculean task ahead of us. Over the next ten years, more than £110bn in investment is needed to build the …

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Chris Huhne writes… The economics of low-carbon

We Liberal Democrats need no convincing of the urgent need to tackle climate change. Indeed, that’s why there’s a Liberal Democrat minister heading the Department of Energy and Climate Change – one of the most important contributions we bring to the coalition government.

Not everyone in the UK, however, is yet so persuaded, and we also face problems in pressing the case abroad. Last summer, together with my French and German counterparts, I opened a debate in the EU over adopting a more ambitious emissions reduction target for 2020 (of 30 per cent, instead of the current 20 per cent), but …

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Chris Huhne writes… Myth-busting: what the Coalition’s plans for nuclear energy really mean

Which of these headlines is right?

Lib Dem U-turn on nuclear energy sees Huhne announce eight new power stations‘ (Independent)

‘Taxpayer to underwrite expansion of nuclear power’ (The Times)

Subsidy for eight nuclear reactors rejected‘ (Financial Times)

All appeared in the papers on Tuesday 19 October, the day after I announced the latest steps in the government’s approach to nuclear energy. They’re a good example of how confused journalists can get – only the FT’s got it right. So let me make it plain: there has been no change whatsoever in the coalition’s policy of allowing new nuclear stations to go ahead as long as they can be built without public subsidy.

What we’ve done is to publish four key sets of documents:

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 25 Comments

Chris Huhne writes … Geert Wilders is best ignored

Back in February, the Home Office’s decision to ban Dutch MP Geert Wilders provoked controversy – not least here on Lib Dem Voice, after the party’s shadow home secretary Chris Huhne backed the government’s decision. This week an immigration tribunal overturned the government ban, so we invited Chris to set out his views …

The Home Secretary’s decision to block Geert Wilders from entering the country was controversial for all sorts of reasons. For libertarians, it was appalling to deprive anyone of freedom of speech. For many Moslems, it was astonishing that anyone could fail to see the need …

Posted in Op-eds | 24 Comments

Conference policy motion: Cutting crime by catching criminals

It has been impossible to have a grown-up debate on crime since Tony Blair became Shadow Home Secretary in 1992 and declared that Labour would be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.” Since then, Labour’s policy has been to out-tough the Tories. The result has been a sentencing arms race as Labour and the Tories appeal to the most punitive parts of public and tabloid opinion.

We desperately need to shift the debate to what works to cut crime. That is why the Justice and Home Affairs Team have produced the Cutting Crime by Catching Criminals paper for …

Posted in Conference and News | 7 Comments

Chris Huhne writes: Don’t underestimate the Lib Dems

The new conventional wisdom at Westminster is that the Conservatives are heading for an overall majority at the next election, and that the Liberal Democrats are therefore bound to take a pounding. On this view, the Lib Dems’ fortunes are inextricably linked with Labour and we are supposed to lose seats as we did when the Conservatives won in 1951, 1970 and 1979.

I don’t believe a word of it. After each Liberal Democrat advance – in 1997, 2001 and now 2005 – the commentariat has written our obituary. But we went on to increase our seats at the …

Posted in Op-eds | 26 Comments

Chris Huhne writes… 42 days is not the answer to terrorism

We have won the argument against extending the period in which suspects can be detained without charge. The only question now is whether we win today’s vote.

My guess is that it will be close, but that we will win thanks to some courageous Labour rebel MPs who are resisting the 21st century equivalent of the thumbscrew, an early morning call from Gordon Brown. A key factor will be whether the Democratic Unionist party succumb to bribes or not, but their opposition to internment in the past shows that they are more principled than some suggest.

Let’s take the Government’s case …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | 17 Comments

Bugging and the rule of law: a first class scandal in the making

Jack Straw is now in real trouble, as it is very difficult to reconcile what he told the House of Commons on 4th February in a statement on the bugging of Saddiq Khan MP at Woodhill prison with the statement of his department in reaction to the Daily Telegraph’s breathtaking scoop on Saturday. The bugging issue is going to be an enormous political story this coming week.

The Telegraph’s Saturday story said:

The full scale of a nationwide policy to bug British jails can be disclosed today after a whistleblower revealed that hundreds of lawyers and prison visitors had been secretly recorded….Lawyers, including human rights solicitors Gareth Peirce and Mudassar Arani, were allegedly “routinely bugged” by police during visits to see clients at Woodhill prison.

Why is this so important? Simply because the right of a defendant to talk in private to his or her lawyer is basic to the fairness of our adversarial courts system. If the prosecution can find out what the defence’s strategy and tactics are, the trial itself will be prejudiced and unfair.

Indeed, there is now a serious risk that any convicted person who can prove that their conversations with legal advisers were overheard may be able to overturn their convictions, which would be an enormous embarrassment to the Government in cases like that of Ian Huntley, the Soham murderer.

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Leadership Platform 5: Chris Huhne – Let’s make the Economy OUR Issue

The ballots have now gone out, and the choice is yours as to who will succeed Ming Campbell as Leader of our party.

It is clear from today’s article in the Guardian that the contest is wide open, with many members still deciding who to support.

I wanted to write to you today to make clear why I believe that I am the candidate who can best lead this party to future success.

First, vision. I am a Liberal Democrat because the values of this party are my personal values: liberty, fairness and equality.

I believe in empowering communities to work together …

Posted in Leadership Election | Tagged | 10 Comments

Leadership Platform 4: Chris Huhne speaks…

Please find below a video I’ve recorded explaining my vision for our public services.

Thanks for watching!

Yours sincerely,


Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 6 Comments

Leadership platform 3: Chris Huhne on Defence

I thought I’d use my slot on Lib Dem Voice today to set out clearly my views on defence. I hope you enjoy the video below.

Thanks again to Stephen and the LDV team for this chance to reach more Lib Dem members. I’m delighted at the momentum building in this leadership campaign and I’ll be back with another message for Lib Dem Voice readers on Tuesday.



Posted in Leadership Election | 13 Comments

Chris Huhne: the five books that have most influenced my politicial views

Liberal Democrat Voice has asked both leadership candidates to list the five books that have most influenced their political views, along with an explanation for their choice. Nick Clegg’s piece appeared earlier today.

J S Mill – “On Liberty
This has to be top of any liberal’s list. Mill’s principle that we should be free unless inflicting harm on others encapsulates our respect for different choices. But the essay reveals an inner conflict, as Mill hints that a liberal society also requires the provision of public goods like education.

George Orwell – “Animal Farm
Animal Farm has it all – biting …

Posted in Books and Leadership Election | 7 Comments

Leadership Platform 1: Chris Huhne – I will lead a Liberal Revolution

Thanks to Stephen and the Lib Dem Voice editors for this chance to speak to members. The blogosphere has certainly been buzzing, and I’ve enjoyed reading a lot of posts and comments, as well as having the pleasure to meet Millennium Elephant and his friends last week.

I thought I’d use this first post to show you my manifesto launch, because its theme summed up my vision for our party. In the video below, you’ll see why I think we must be a party offering a revolution in politics not just a change of faces in the cabinet.

You can read …

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Chris Huhne writes: No to Trident

Lib Dem Voice has asked both leadership candidates to set out their views on what should be the party’s approach to Britain’s policy on nuclear weapons. Nick Clegg’s article was published earlier today. Here’s Chris Huhne’s take…

In Britain today we face a multitude of threats to our security. We need strong defences to protect us from rogue states as well as terrorist organisations both within and outside of our borders. But these threats are fundamentally different from those which the Trident nuclear deterrent was designed to protect us from, and that is why it simply does not justify its …

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 21 Comments

A Zero Carbon Britain with the Liberal Democrats

Yesterday the Liberal Democrats launched radical proposals to create a zero-carbon Britain by 2050. Our paper ‘Zero Carbon Britain – Taking a Global Lead’ is the most far-reaching set of proposals on climate change ever championed by a British political party.

This is the first time any party has set out a plan to tackle carbon emissions from every part of the economy: transport, energy, housing, offices and factories.

The green tax switch is a vital part of our programme. We want to reverse the decline in green taxation under Labour. We will use the revenue from higher taxes on gas-guzzling cars …

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | 9 Comments

Chris Huhne MP: Tax pollution, not people

Green Tax SwitchThe green tax switch is shaping up to be the biggest campaign we have ever run as a party, and it is in an excellent cause. The time for talk on climate change is over, and the time for action has arrived.

We have one key message which could not be simpler on the doorstep. We should tax pollution not people. If we are to change our behaviour, it is the role of government to lead us collectively away from our dependence on fossil fuels. We need green taxes not to raise revenue for the state – taxes are high enough – but to switch off climate chaos.

By using green tax revenue to take the low paid out of income tax and cut 2 pence off the basic rate, we can nudge our society towards sustainability and strike a blow for fairness and social justice. How much each individual taxpayer saves will depend on their own behaviour. The greener we go, the more we save.

Posted in News | 6 Comments

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