Today’s Guardian reveals the Tory MP running the Corby campaign backed climate denier James Delingpole’s aborted bid for the seat – and helped push the Tories further towards an anti-green, anti-wind farm position.
Newly appointed energy minister John Hayes, who broke ranks a fortnight ago to launch an attack on wind farms – defying his Lib Dem boss Ed Davey in declaring “enough is enough” – is also implicated, while George Osborne stands accused of wanting to water down the Climate Change Act by “getting people into key positions” to get the government “off the hook” on its commitments.
Watch the Greenpeace sting:
Here are extracts of Tory Corby campaign chief Chris Heaton-Harris’s conversation with the undercover investigator wrt the Hayes/Delingpole link:
Investigator: “Well we saw with Delingpole that… is he now…?”
Heaton-Harris: “He’s now pulling out.”
I: “Because the work is done?”
H-H: “Well not the work is done, but he wants government to be rewarded for going in the right direction.”
H-H: “It’s a bit (inaudible) you can keep on hammering, but what’s the point of listening (inaudible) in that place. And there’ll be other reasons, you know, and actually, now it’s quite a nice bust up between the Lib Dems and us.”
H-H: “Which will work well for both sides in this.”
I: “Well exactly, and was that all… because obviously the timing of that was…”
I: “(Laughs); so you had the speech, two front pages, and then Delingpole stands down saying ‘my work is done’.”
H-H: “Yeah there’s been, there’s been a bit of leverage that he’s given me. So, um, I’ve been working on this since the ministerial teams changed. So it was just ‘fortuitous timing’.”
Later on, Hayes’s role becomes clearer:
H-H: “So tomorrow in the Daily Telegraph Delingpole’s writing a big piece about government going in the right direction. Nice piece for the boss, to say why he’s pulled out, why these things are essential in what he’s doing.”
I: “I know you said before there was a meeting, he was going to talk to you and Hayes and that was going to be… so was Hayes smiling on that whole adventure?”
H-H: “Kind of yeah. Nothing in politics, even if it happens by accident, nothing happens by accident.”
Here are some questions Hayes must now answer:
1). Did he meet with James Delingpole and Chris Heaton-Harris between 8 October and 31 October?
2). Was he involved in Delingpole’s campaign in Corby?
3). Chris Heaton-Harris says he’s been very useful to him since moving into the energy portfolio. What does he mean?
4). It is alleged George Osborne was instrumental in moving him into the energy brief – is this true?
Peter Lilley, one of only five MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act, and recently elected to the energy and climate change committee, implicates George Osborne in a separate anti-green plot – here are extracts from his conversation with the undercover investigator:
Lilley: “Basically I think Osborne wanted to get people into key positions who could begin to get the government off the hook from the commitments it made very foolishly.”
Investigator: “So he’s basically trying to unpick the knot?”
L: “Yes. I don’t think they’ve fully worked out how they can do that, without standing on their heads and looking stupid but clearly the people who need to be brought onside are the Lib Dems.”
Lilley then reveals the CCA could be watered-down to make it merely “advisory” rather thatn legally-binding:
“Well it depends of course what commitments are made in the manifesto. [inaudible]… but otherwise, we could well see, certainly amendments to the Climate Change Act, cease to make it legally binding, make it advisory, make it dependent on other people doing things in parallel with us, rather than setting an example to the rest of the world.”
Lilley and Heaton-Harris also make disparaging remarks about climate change minister Greg Barker – Lilley says “he’s barking“, while Heaton-Harris says:
“He’s away with the fairies, but he’s very close to David Cameron.”
These revelations raise serious questions about John Hayes and George Osborne’s commitment to the Climate Change Act – that’s the energy minister and the chancellor.
Greenest government ever?