Ditching net zero ‘could cost Tories 1.3m votes’

A new report outlines how failing to live up to the 2050 promise could impact the governing party

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If the Conservative government ditches its net zero target, it could lose 1.3 million votes.

That’s according to a new report by thinktank Onward, claiming that despite discrepancy around the net zero conversation within the party, it must make good on its promise to hold its voters.

The House of Commons approved the UK’s 2050 net zero target in June 2019, with every major political party committing to the target six months later.

However, the cost of net zero has been an issue raised by some politicians who believe it is not worth pursuing due to a lack of public backing.

This report, however, found that 64% of voters support the net zero pledge and 58% believe it is still worth pursuing despite the expense – to save the planet.

The poll also revealed that 46% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a party that scrapped the UK’s net zero target.

It also revealed that working class Tories are highly supportive of investing in renewable energy and optimistic about the job opportunities it could bring.

Onward conducted a second poll regarding the impact the Ukraine crisis has had on this target, as prices rise in all walks of life.

More than half of the respondents, however, believe the conflict means that the world should be moving faster to achieve net zero, rather than slower. Just under 70% of British voters said that renewable investment was the best way of securing the country’s energy supply.

The reasons the report gives for voters responding to net zero are care from the older generations on the futures of their children and grandchildren, a desire to see politicians stick to their promises and maintaining the UK’s position as a top leader in science and innovation.

Conservative MP, Chris Skidmore, said: “The global energy crisis and Ukraine conflict has led some to question whether the public still wants the government to press ahead with the promise that it made in 2019.

“It is clear from this research that they do. My party would pay a heavy political price if it rowed back on net zero and so it is clear that the only option is to deliver on our promise.”