David Chandler suggests that the Devizes Constituency Hustings on the Environment, to be held this Thursday 23rd April at the Bouverie Hall in Pewsey, is connected to the Green Party. It is not. I will be in the chair, and I hope the evening will provide for an interesting and robust exchange of views.
Claire Perry agreed to take part in the hustings in October, and said that she would be delighted to attend. She decided to pull out last week. Constituency hustings are an important part of the democratic process. I hope she will reconsider, in order that we might ensure a balanced debate around critical environmental issues.
Importantly, Claire is a self-described Green Conservative. She has spoken about the importance of action on climate change and written in Conservative pamphlets about the growth opportunities associated with the green economy. I hope that Claire will defend the record of what David Cameron promised would be ‘the greenest government ever’, and put forward her party’s plans for the future.
As to fracking: we know it can be dangerous, and that the greenhouse gas impact is only slightly less than coal when methane leakage is taken into account. However, fracking will increase our energy security, and may be a necessary part of our transition to home-grown low carbon energy production. Certainly the parliamentary Committee on Climate Change believe this. Personally, I would like to hear the arguments from both sides. Unfortunately, if Claire fails to attend the hustings, I may not.
There will be a microphone at the table for Claire on Thursday. If she changes her mind, the audience and I will be very pleased to see her.