Set responses from Conservative and Labour MPs
Have you received a standard response from your MP?
Check below to see if you are getting the brush off from your Conservative or Labour MP with a set response. These responses are not personal opinions but a statement of the party line.
Underneath each of the standard responses, we’ve outlined some suggestions for how to you might get back to your MP. You can also find more detail on some of the common objections and misconceptions about the CE Bill in our FAQs for campaigners. However, the fact that the letter hasn’t personally been drafted by your MP is a sign they aren’t fully engaging with the campaign or the Bill – yet. So rather than spending too much time coming up with a detailed response to each of their concerns, a good use of your energy at this juncture is to get other constituents to write to your MP too (see the sections of the Campaign Guide on Reaching out to others and Building a local alliance). With sceptical MPs, the focus to begin with is more on showing them that there is broad support for the Bill. Once we’ve done that, they will sit up and listen to our arguments.
Note: You can help keep us in the loop by sending any response you get from your MP to [email protected]. Thanks!
Conservative standard response
“Thank you for contacting me about the Climate and Ecology Bill. I understand that this Bill has been developed by campaign members of Extinction Rebellion, Big Ask and Power for the People.
Let me be clear – tackling climate change is a priority for me and my Ministerial colleagues. I am proud that the UK was the first G7 country to legislate to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. While I can understand that you want this target to be achieved sooner, and I share this desire, getting to net zero by 2050 is feasible and consistent with avoiding most damaging climate change. Aiming for zero emissions by 2030 is almost certainly impossible, hugely disruptive and risks undermining consensus. Climate change is an emotive issue, but a cross-community consensus will be required to ensure the UK achieves a transition that works for all.
I note that the Bill seeks to examine the UK’s global carbon footprint, such as indirect UK emissions in our supply chain which may affect developing countries. I am encouraged that the UK remains committed to environmentally sustainable development as set out in the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. In September 2019 the Prime Minister committed to doubling the UK’s International Climate Finance over the next five years which I hope will enable the UK to play an active part in protecting the environment and reversing biodiversity loss.
On conservation, the UK is on course to protect over half of our waters. We now have 357 Marine Protected Areas of different types and no activities deemed damaging to designated features will be allowed to take place in these areas.
On forming a citizens’ assembly, I do not believe that it would have advantages over conventional policy making in this context. Previous experiences in Canada, for instance, included citizens in the decision‑making process, but they failed to produce impactful or long-lasting results.
While I welcome the increased awareness and debate this Bill brings, I do not believe that it is required as work is already underway. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.”
If you want to reply to the Conservative standard response, here are some pointers to use in your email or letter. It’s always best to put this in your own words:
- I welcome the UK’s previous pioneering action on climate issues and these must not stop with this Conservative Government. Leading up to COP 26, I believe that we need to continue to be world leaders, showing the action necessary to keep global warming below the critical 1.5C set in the Paris Agreement. This is not a target we can afford to miss. We won’t be able to reduce temperatures if they rise above this point, and it is therefore essential to treat this emergency with the seriousness it demands, as governments across the world have done with Covid-19.
- The Government’s current 2050 net zero date gives us merely a ‘greater than 50%’ chance – if replicated across the world – of avoiding a global rise in temperature that UN scientists have warned us will lead to ‘catastrophic’ events, including crop failure, flooding and increased disease. A ‘greater than 50%’ is not good enough, and it scares me. We can, and must, do better to reduce emissions now.
- As future emissions reductions require action this year, and every year, the Committee on Climate Change has set targets to ensure the Government reaches its own target of 2050. Worryingly, the Government currently is not on track at all – far from it. In the Committee’s report of June, of the 21 key indicators to measure progress towards meeting UK carbon budgets and the 2050 target, only 4 were on track. And of the 31 milestones for actions recommended by the Committee in 2019 in order to get to net zero by 2050, only 2 have been fully achieved, with partial progress made on 15. The other 14 have shown no progress. What steps is the Government taking to achieve these targets?
- The ‘disruption and consensus undermining’ that you mention is exactly why citizens need to be involved in climate action: so that the general public understands the issues, the urgency, and the changes needed, and can play their role in how the UK adapts to change. Citizens’ assemblies have been used across the world to address complex and socially divisive issues. Although the framing for Climate Assembly UK was incorrect, the results seem reasonable and demonstrate the ‘cross-community consensus’ you mentioned in your letter. I see this as a positive first step for the Citizens’ Assembly in the CE Bill. What will happen to these recommendations?
- The CE Bill outlines what is needed to address the scale and urgency of the threat. Will you support the CE Bill?
- You could also attach this briefing about the Bill, which is targeted at MPs and decision-makers who are new to the Bill
Labour standard response
“Thank you for contacting me about the Climate and Ecology Bill.
I very much agree that we need urgent action on this issue. Climate and environmental breakdown is not a distant threat, but something here and now, and will get worse if we do not act in this next, decisive decade.
Yet while Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency in May 2019, the Government is simply not responding as the situation requires. While it has accepted the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 and to include international aviation and shipping emissions in the sixth carbon budget, this is the minimum that is required – indeed, the CCC’s more ambitious scenario of an 87% reduction better reflects the urgency of the situation. Furthermore, targets are no substitute for concrete plans to deliver them and, unfortunately, I am concerned that the Government’s actions fall short of its rhetoric.
In both the Budget and Spending Review, for example, the Government missed the opportunity to deliver a major green stimulus and lock in a green economic recovery from the pandemic. At the same time, it has abolished a vital housing retrofit scheme, considered allowing a new deep coal mine and delayed crucial environmental legislation. Crucially, we remain well off track to meet our legally binding climate targets.
With the COP26 climate conference approaching, I am determined that the UK must show global leadership on this issue. I believe we should aim to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030, make climate justice a priority, both in the UK and abroad, and take action to accelerate the benefits of nature restoration and recovery. That is why I have supported calls for a Green Economic Recovery, which would urgently bring forward that ambitious stimulus package of capital investment to help support the creation of up to 400,000 new low-carbon jobs over the next 18 months to rebuild from the pandemic and decarbonise our economy at the same time.
That is why I support many of the aims set out in the CE Bill. The Bill as brought forward in the last parliamentary session, however, was a Presentation Bill, which does not involve a debate or a vote in Parliament but is a way of drawing attention to an issue that requires a change in the law.
I will therefore also be supporting other parliamentary measures that seek to implement many of the principles laid out in the Bill. Proposed amendments to the Environment Bill, for example, would have incorporated several specific issues highlighted by the CE Bill. Unfortunately, these amendments were defeated by the Government at Committee Stage.
I can assure you that I will continue to push for the above, and more widely for bold action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency at every opportunity.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue.”
If you want to reply to the Labour standard response, here are some pointers to use in your email or letter. It’s always best to put this in your own words:
- Thank you for all of the work you are doing in holding the Government to account on the climate and ecological emergency. Leading up to COP 26, I believe that we need to be world leaders, showing the action necessary to keep global warming below the critical 1.5C set in the Paris Agreement. This is not a target we can afford to miss. We won’t be able to reduce temperatures if they rise above this point, and I am glad you agree that it is essential to treat this emergency with the seriousness it demands, as governments across the world have done with Covid-19.
- As a constituent, I am supporting the campaign for the CE Bill. A private members’ bill is an important first step for a campaign to gather support and I encourage you to join your Labour colleagues in supporting this Bill. In fact, the Climate Change Act 2008 started life as such a bill!
- We need as many MPs as possible to state their support for the Alliance’s Climate and Ecology Bill. This will put pressure on the Government and will help the campaign move forward. Over 50 of your Labour colleagues support the CE Bill, including Front Benchers such as Alex Sobel, Rachael Maskell, Fleur Anderson and Olivia Blake.
- Will you lend a hand and join other opposition MPs by stating your support for the CE Bill?