Treaty of Lisbon (No. 8) — [8th Allotted Day]

Part of BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE (LISBON TREATY) (No. 7) – in the House of Commons at 1:22 pm on 27th February 2008.

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Photo of Peter Ainsworth Peter Ainsworth Shadow Secretary of State for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 1:22 pm, 27th February 2008

I beg to move, To leave out from 'House' to end and add

'notes that the Treaty of Lisbon makes no substantive changes to EU competence on climate change;
agrees with the Foreign Secretary that climate change agreements already reached by the EU "have done more to show the relevance of the European Union than any amount of institutional tinkering";
believes that the Treaty of Lisbon is effectively irrelevant to the vital issue of climate change;
and concludes that the Government's priority on climate change in the European context should not be institutional change but the strengthening of measures to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.'.

Conservatives always welcome the opportunity to speak in this House on the vital importance of tackling climate change. As the debates on the Lisbon treaty are demonstrating, we also welcome opportunities to speak on the role and influence of the European Union in the political and daily life of this country. Indeed, some hon. Members on both sides of the House seem to show an insatiable appetite for debating matters European. We are happy to debate climate change and our relationship with the European Union.

The other place has happily been debating the Climate Change Bill in recent weeks, and I am pleased to note how the Opposition have succeeded in persuading the Government to toughen up some key provisions of that Bill. We look forward to its arrival in this House in the near future. If we end up with a robust Climate Change Bill—one that really changes the mindset in Whitehall and in Westminster—it will be a great example of what a national Parliament can achieve.

There will be plenty of opportunities to debate climate change in the weeks ahead, and that is a good thing, given that climate change is the greatest threat we face. It would be surprising indeed if we were not debating it. I sense that, despite the fact that the science is still disputed by some, there is a real hunger for clarity and leadership on climate change, which affects all of us, whatever our job, wherever we live, whatever our income and whatever our faith. It demands a new politics.