Clarke dismisses Brown’s green policies as embarrassing
by Rachel Thomas
March 6, 2008
Former cabinet minister Charles Clarke today spoke out against Gordon Brown’s embarrassing position on climate change.
The former home secretary told the Guardian that Brown’s leadership is in need of greater distinction in numerous areas.
In particular the assault focused on Brown’s failure to pay significant attention to environmental and sustainability concerns.
He spoke of the national road pricing announcements from earlier this week as embarrassing and illustrative of the fact that the government is not taking hold of the ‘green agenda’ as it ought to.
He went on to put forward the point that in comparison to many other European countries the UK is in a far worse position, when the EU commission white papers on areas such as energy and renewables. He stated that the government needs to do more on this matter.
Clarke went on to analyse Brown’s position over Europe. He pointed out that Brown currently not be considered a pro-European leader. Yesterday the prime minister encountered a backbench rebellion as 29 MPs went against the whip by voting for a referendum on the Lisbon treaty.
As a minister under Tony Blair over the period from 1998 to 2006 Clarke was well placed to state that, under Blair, Labour had refrained from taking a more pro-European stance as a result of a Eurosceptic press. Clarke, MP for Norwich South, claimed that circumstances had now shifted and Brown should now push to put the UK at the centre of Europe.
He pointed out the lack of clarity evident in the government’s agenda over topics such as the EU and similarly a lack of clarity over the EU’s agenda for itself.
Clarke spoke of the fact that Brown turned up late, after the leaders of the other 26 EU countries had already signed the EU Lisbon treaty, as weakening his position.
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