UK

Ed Miliband says he never considered quitting over axed £28bn green pledge

The shadow climate secretary backed the U-turn despite initial speculation he could resign over the move.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said he never considered quitting over the axing of the £28 billion pledge
Ed Miliband Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said he never considered quitting over the axing of the £28 billion pledge (Hannah McKay/PA)

Ed Miliband has insisted he did not consider resigning over Labour’s junking of its pledge to spend £28 billion a year on green projects.

The shadow climate secretary, seen as a key proponent of the policy, said the party’s plans still meet his criteria of moving the dial on climate.

He was said to have argued strongly for sticking with the £28bn figure as the Labour leadership considered a U-turn.

But he publicly rowed in behind Sir Keir Starmer as the Labour leader announced its axing.

Asked whether he thought about quitting over the issue, Mr Miliband told Channel 4 News on Friday: “Absolutely not. Because the test I apply is are we going to go into the next election, if we’re the next government, am I going to be able to be the energy secretary who can genuinely say Britain is leading the world?

“Britain is going to move the dial on climate and that is the test. That’s why I’m in frontline politics because I care so much about this cause and my test of what we’ve come up with is – does meet the criteria I have? And absolutely it does.”

He argued Labour still has a “massive agenda to invest in the future of the country” and that he has a “responsibility” to “make a difference” should he become energy secretary.

“The only thing I can do, the only right thing to do, is to fight for the maximum possible ambition. And to make sure that in government we can make a difference. I’m confident we can.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has faced criticism over the decision to ditch the flagship green pledge
Labour’s Green Prosperity Plan Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has faced criticism over the decision to ditch the flagship green pledge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Labour announced on Thursday the figure would be drastically scaled back to £23.7 billion over the course of the next parliament if it wins the next election, blaming the Tory stewardship of the economy and higher interest rates for the reversal.

Sir Keir has insisted the ambitions behind Labour’s flagship green prosperity plan remain the same, and recommitted to his mission to achieve clean power by 2030.

But the party’s plan to insulate homes is set to be one casualty of the climbdown, with five million expected to be completed in the first five years rather than the 19 million initially promised.

Mr Miliband conceded that “it will take us longer to achieve what we wanted to achieve” but said the public care about the “good jobs” that green investment offers.

“We’re going to invest in the green economy and we’re going to do so in a way that is fiscally responsible,” he told the broadcaster.