Clause 154 — Interpretation of part 5
Mr John Hayes (Shadow Minister, Local and Devolved Government Affairs; South Holland and The Deepings, Conservative)
Yes, they did. I personally received many representations from them, and I am sure that Matthew Green did as well. I know that the Minister did. Of course they understood: they understood that they must put pressure on all of us who were involved in the debate on these matters, and hoped that they could bring about a resolution that was appropriate and deliverable.
Of course those bodies understood how the process worked, but it is a bit rich to pick out an advertisement without paying tribute to some of the organisations that were measured and consistent in their campaign and that did not go over the top in their representations. To counterbalance some of the criticism, let me pay tribute to all those, outside this place and in it, who fought for the cause of eliminating fuel poverty, including all-party groups and, indeed, to those who embarrassed the Government when it became clear that they had started to renege on a public commitment made more than 15 times.
When more than two dozen of a Government's own Members rebel on an amendment in support of the Lords, of course it is embarrassing. [Interruption.] Of course it is embarrassing to Mr. Rooney, who is now chuntering. I understand his embarrassment, and I feel a bit sorry for him, but he has been got off the hook by his Minister. Because the Minister has conceded, there will be a return to the original position of recognising the efficacy of a 20 per cent. decrease in carbon dioxide emissions by 2010, on the basis of the 1990 levels. That is what the Minister's commitment means and, in practice, many of the arguments articulated in the other place and in the House will find a form in the Bill in a clear restatement of policy to do something real and deliverable about emissions, fuel poverty and other issues related to energy efficiency.
Once again, I recognise that the Government have moved, even though it was not of their own volition. However, their move is welcome because it improves the Bill. The measure is by no means perfect—it contains some good things and some very bad things—but the work of both Houses of Parliament, assisted by those outside who have made representations to us, has improved it by forcing the Minister to take note. That does him some credit, but much more to those who forced him to do so.
I am pleased to support the amendment, alongside Members on the Treasury Bench.