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In a fresh blow to Rishi Sunak, a former Tory minister has announced that he is going to vote for the Labour Party in the general election.

Chris Skidmore, who was the government’s net zero tsar, accused Rishi Sunak of “siding with climate deniers”.

Skidmore had quit as an MP over the government’s energy plans, triggering a by-election.

The former minister said he could not continue as a Tory MP ahead of a vote on a bill to guarantee annual oil and gas licensing rounds.

He said at the time: “We cannot expect other countries to phase out their fossil fuels when at the same time we continue to issue new licences or to open new oil fields.

“It is a tragedy that the UK has been allowed to lose its climate leadership.”

Writing in The Guardian, Skidmore said Sunak had sought “division and polarisation” over climate change.

He wrote: “Sunak’s decision instead to side with climate deniers and to deliberately politicise the energy transition is perhaps the greatest tragedy of his premiership. It has cost us not just environmentally but also economically.

“It is a decision that will also cost votes, including those in my own constituency. For the first time, I cannot vote for a party that has boasted of new oil and gas licences in its manifesto or that now argues that net zero is a burden and not a benefit.

“Instead, like many others who know that we have neither choice nor any more time, and need to tackle the climate crisis now, I have decided that the Labour party is best placed to achieve economic growth and the green industrial revolution. Net zero is one of its five key priorities, and for this reason I will be voting Labour at this election.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

The post Former Tory Minister says he is voting Labour in the General Election appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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