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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Stands up for Green Jobs in Narrowly Lost Vote on Clean Power Law

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has voted to support renewable energy and jobs across the North-east by backing a move to clean up UK power and tackle climate change.

Dr Whiteford voted for an amendment to the Energy Bill, currently in Parliament, that would set the Government a legal target to remove carbon emissions from the UK’s power supply almost entirely by 2030.

Businesses argue the move would reassure companies looking to make long-term investments in the green economy that could bring new jobs to Scotland. It would end the country’s heavy reliance on gas and would also stop rising gas prices from driving up fuel bills.

267 MPs voted for the proposal, including the Labour Party, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, the Green Party, and 16 Liberal Democrat and 8 Conservative backbenchers who defied the UK Government. The vote was lost by just 23 votes: the biggest MP rebellion on a whipped vote since tuition fees in 2010.

Lord Alan Sugar, from TV’s The Apprentice and a member of the House of Lords, warned that unless the UK Government commits to clean power the UK risks busting its climate change targets and losing business and jobs abroad. Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, Campaign Ambassador for Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign, said that it was a fantastic opportunity to revive UK manufacturing and boost green growth.

A clean power target is expected to be a key issue when the Bill is debated in the House of Lords later this month.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“Green is working – the green economy supports almost a million jobs already and it is helping to stop dangerous climate change.

“But green companies and their supply chains will only make long-term investments in the North-east if there’s a clear pathway for renewable energy in the future.

“That’s why I voted for a target to cut the carbon from our electricity by 2030 – it would help stabilise the climate and provide much needed jobs, as well as keeping bills as low as possible in the long-term.”

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

“Eilidh Whiteford MP should be applauded for standing up for action to tackle climate change and create new jobs in Scotland.

“George Osborne’s reckless dash for gas power would send fuel bills rocketing and jobs overseas, and punch a gaping hole in our climate targets.

“With so many MPs rebelling and voting for clean power, the issue will not go away – the battle will now go to the House of Lords, where the Government’s slim victory has a real chance of being overturned.”

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