Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:24 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:24 pm, 1st May 2019

I will not give way for a second.

One thing I want to emphasise is that actions and a higher level of ambitions count, but when people across this House say that this situation is an emergency, we need to look at the record. I am very happy for our record to be looked at and for criticisms to be made. Since I became Environment Secretary nearly two years ago, the Leader of the Opposition has not used a single Opposition Day to debate climate change or the environment until today. He has not asked a single question—not one—of the Prime Minister about climate change or the environment, despite more than 400 opportunities to do so. When climate change protesters went to his own home in order, literally, to bring home the scale of the challenge that we face, he was not able to stop and talk to them on that occasion. The point that I make is not that we should doubt the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman, but rather that if we believe that this is an emergency, as one of my colleagues pointed out earlier, we should not try to say that any one party in this House has a monopoly of virtue. Let us try to ensure that we have a civilised debate that combines a sense of urgency about the challenge in front of us and a determination to take action in the future. [Interruption.]