Emily Thornberry grilled on Labour’s green energy plans
Emily Thornberry was put on the spot by Kay Burley over Labour backtracking on a green promise.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party earlier this month climbed down from its plan to borrow £28 billion a year to spend on green industries.
The Labour frontbencher was grilled on the policy change during an appearance on Sky News this morning in an awkward exchange.
Host Ms Burley said: “But you guys get yourselves tied in knots as well don’t you?
“I’m thinking about green policies, I’m thinking about what Rachel Reeves was saying. I think it was £28 billion a year you were going to spend and now you’re saying actually no it’s not going to be that, it’s going to be up to £28 billion over a period of time.”
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Ms Thornberry replied: “So on day one we won’t be spending £28 billion, that’s all we’re saying. We’re saying we’re going to build up to it.”
But the Sky News presenter put it to the shadow attorney general: “Well initially she said you were.”
Ms Thornberry said: “Well, yeah, but you know, but actually what we need to do…”
Ms Burley pressed: “Why the change of heart?”
The senior Labour MP insisted it “works better if we build up to it”.
Ms Burley then asked why Labour did not say that “in the first place”.
Ms Thornberry replied: “Well look, this is what we’re saying. So we build up to it, we build up to £28 billion.
“There are two reasons why. One is that we won’t overnight be able to find the gigafactories, we won’t be able to double the onshore wind, we won’t be able to double the offshore wind.”
Ms Burley said: “You knew that to start with…”
Ms Thornberry said the second reason is because the cost of borrowing is so high.
She added: “So it’s both those things together that we’ve tweaked the policy but the fundamental principle is this. The only way to grow our economy is to change the way our economy runs.
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“That is about bringing in green energy which means jobs, which means infrastructure, which means investment, which means security, which means not answering to Putin for the prices of our bills.”
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves earlier this month admitted Labour had scaled back on proposals to borrow £28 billion a year for its green prosperity plan.
Writing for The Times, Ms Reeves blamed soaring interest rates and her “non-negotiable” pledge to reduce government debt every year.
The pledge will only now be fulfilled in the second half of Labour’s first term.
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