Constituents launch election campaign to ‘clean Parliament of climate deniers’

‘As a country, we face urgent threats on climate and nature. We need to make policies that follow the scientific evidence.’

MP Watch, a grassroots network of constituents that scrutinise MPs and aim to make them more accountable, has launched its election campaign. The campaign aims to let constituents know if they have an MP who denies climate change exists, so they are able to vote accordingly.

The campaigners list several MPs who are associated with denying the climate emergency exists, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Craig McKinlay, Esther McVey, Mark Jenkinson, Andrea Jenkins, Liz Truss, and Suella Braverman.

At the heart of the campaign launch is a film that lays bare the climate record of Steve Baker, Conservative MP of Wycombe, who the group describes as “climate denier number one.”

Baker was first elected as an MP in 2010 and was re-elected in 2019 with just a four thousand majority. An ardent Brexiteer, Baker was chair of the pro-Brexit group of MPs, the European Research Group (ERG), until he resigned when he was promoted to Brexit minister in 2017. He resigned from the post a year later, following the resignation of David Davis over concerns about the government’s strategy on Brexit.

The campaign film was put together by climate activist and filmmaker Guy Ducker. One of a series of clips relating to the MP’s history on climate change in the film refers to how in 2021 Baker became a trustee of the oil-funded climate sceptic group, Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). In September 2022, Baker left the climate denial group for a ministerial post in Liz Truss’s government, who made him minister of state for Northern Ireland, a post he still holds today.

Baker is a leading member of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, made up of backbench Conservative MPs, including former government ministers, who oppose many of the government’s Net Zero policies. The campaign film references a newspaper report about Baker sharing a paper, produced by GWPF, saying that the climate emergency does not exist.

Baker raised eyebrows this week when, during an interview with Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC, he said he would not cancel his holiday plans for his party’s general election campaign, despite admitting he will likely lose his seat.

For over two years, over 50 Wycombe constituents who form Steve Baker Watch, one of a number of groups within MP Watch targeting specific MPs, have asked Baker to change his climate position.

Rather than softening his position, the MP accused the environmental campaigners of “child abuse” and referred to them as “clowns,” which the film exposes.

Gemma Rogers, co-founder of the Steve Baker Watch, says she hopes the film will help seal a victory against Steve Baker.

“He treats us like mugs,” said the NHS worker. “He thinks he can head off to Westminster and quietly join the climate-denying Global Warming Policy Foundation and not explain it to constituents. Even though he was elected on the Conservative manifesto of 2019 which included sticking to the Paris Agreement.

“We think MPs should be held accountable for their actions. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. We need him out at the next election and replaced by an MP that will truly represent us on climate,” Rogers added.

MP Watch campaign head Jessica Townsend described the aim of the campaign, as to “clean up parliament at the next election and to finally get rid of the pollution of climate misinformation.”.

“As a country, we face urgent threats on climate and nature. We need to make policies that follow the scientific evidence. Yet at this dangerous time, some in Westminster are playing politics on the issue. Frankly, it beggars’ belief.”

Image credit: YouTube screen grab

Comments are closed.