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I welcome the cross-party consensus around stronger action on climate change, but action there does need to be, including in the environment Bill. In 2006, as Labour’s Housing Minister, I put forward a 10-year plan for zero-carbon homes by 2016, including a regulatory timetable, that was backed by the housing industry and environmental groups, but sadly it was ditched in 2013. We still need that stronger action to cut emissions from new and existing homes as part of our action on climate change.
I want to talk about the importance of public transport as part of our action to cut carbon emissions and the desperate need for more support for public transport in our towns, which was missing from the Government’s agenda, but first I want to make a point about the Government’s Brexit plans. It is deeply disappointing that the Government seem to be moving away from a Brexit deal with a customs union, rather than towards one, as that idea lost by only three votes in Parliament in the spring and is something that many Opposition Members have argued for. Fundamentally, we have to make a choice about what kind of trading nation we wanted to be: do we want our closest trading relationships to be with our nearest neighbours, through a customs union approach, and built on safeguards, standards and workers’ rights, or do we instead, as the Government seem now to argue, want the price to be deregulation and an opening up of markets to the biggest global corporations, risking cuts in environmental standards and prioritising a deal with Trump’s America?