Ed Miliband savaged Grant Shapps in the Commons.
Ed Miliband has savaged Grant Shapps over the government’s confused position on new onshore wind farms.
Rishi Sunak is facing a growing Tory rebellion over the current ban on new developments.
During the Tory leadership contest in the summer, Sunak pledged to “scrap plans to relax the ban on onshore wind”.
But Downing Street has paved the way for an embarrassing U-turn by saying the prime minister now wants to hear from all sides of the debate before making a final decision.
In the House of Commons today, Miliband, the shadow climate change secretary, sought to capitalise on the Tory chaos as he went head-to-head with Shapps.
Miliband said: “The only reason we’re debating this issue is not because the public don’t support it, they do by 78% according to his department’s own polling.
“It’s because dinosaurs on the benches opposite oppose clean energy. And David Cameron and every leader since has indulged them.
“And the problem is that the secretary of state who prides himself on being a truly modern man is part of a fossilised tendency.”
Miliband accused Shapps of being “part of the lobbying effort against lifting the ban” on onshore wind earlier this year.
“He said they were an eyesore, he said they created problems of noise and he urged the then prime minister to largely reject onshore wind,” the former Labour leader said.
And referring to former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, Miliband said: “The right honourable gentleman’s position is making the Victorian of the Tory party look positively on-trend.
“Can the secretary of state clear up once and for all what is his position on onshore wind?”
But Shapps insisted that the government position had not changed, and that onshore wind developments could take place so long as local communities supported them.
He said: “The energy white paper, the net-zero strategy, they have all said exactly the same thing, as we’ve been saying this week, onshore can happen where it has local consent.
“I don’t know why this local consent principle is so difficult for the right honourable gentleman opposite to understand.”