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Climate Change and the Environment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:42 pm on 8th February 2005.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes 12:42 pm, 8th February 2005

I am sure that The Observer will have seen that and will reply at length on Sunday. Sadly, none of us has the opportunity to do so in that particular format. However, I have seen the minutes so I take the Secretary of State's comment with a pinch of salt. It looked to me, from reading the minutes, as though The Observer was accurate, but never mind, we will take the matter at face value.

I have not concentrated on domestic policy because it is important to get the international scene right. With due respect to the Government, however, if they are to achieve credibility abroad they must deliver real progress at home. Grandiose speeches abroad are no substitute for action at home. I do not pretend that it is easy or that all the problems can be solved overnight, but there are significant shortcomings in the Government's performance that must be addressed. One is Government structure. The Government, sadly in my view, abandoned the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, which for the first time brought transport and the environment together in a sensible way. We now have DEFRA, which, with due respect to the Secretary of State, does not carry the same weight in the Government as the Treasury or the Department of Trade and Industry.