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PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak’s “flip-flopping” on commitments to protect the environment could backfire badly at the next general election, suggests a poll of voters in “blue wall” marginal seats who said they wanted stronger measures.
In the survey by environmental campaign group Greenpeace, 20,000 people — 70 per cent in parliamentary constituencies in the south and south-east of England — said that environmental issues would affect how they voted in the election.
Eighty-five per cent said they wanted more government financial support for home insulation and 73 per cent wanted more funding for heat pumps.
More than 79 per cent believe the government should invest more in renewable power and subsidised rail travel, 80 per cent said they support a wealth tax on Britain’s richest 1 per cent to fund action on climate change and 87 per cent support a loophole-free windfall tax on oil and gas profits.
The findings follow Mr Sunak scaling back on a number of key green pledges that are part of government achieve net-zero carbon emissions, including delaying a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars
“Blue wall” seats are defined as constituencies where voters elected Tory MPs in 2019, voted Remain in the 2016 referendum on Britain’s European Union membership and where at least a quarter of the electorate are graduates.
Greenpeace UK climate campaigner Georgia Whitaker said: “Voters in the most hotly contested seats are saying that climate change matters to them and they want bold policies to tackle it.
“But in a desperate attempt to play politics with the climate, Sunak risks haemorrhaging his party’s support in Tory strongholds and key marginals.”
Greenpeace is encouraging people to become “climate voters” at the next general election.
The group aims to recruit at least one million such people and activists will be knocking on doors in marginal and blue wall areas.
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