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Ed Miliband defends ‘world-leading’ Labour climate policy at Glastonbury

Ed Miliband defends ‘world-leading’ Labour climate policy at Glastonbury

The shadow climate secretary joined a panel in a talk called One Minute To Midnight: Can Politics Deliver On Climate Action?’ and was met with cheers as he was introduced to a packed Left Field tent at Worthy Farm.

Mr Miliband fielded the majority of questions when the floor was opened to the Glastonbury audience, with one person asking why Labour has “rolled back on some of their promises” concerning climate change after the party rowed back on its £28 billion green prosperity plan earlier this month.

A man called Euan said: “It feels like you’re losing a little bit of trust on my side on an area of Labour policy which was more inspiring to me than the rest.”

In response Mr Miliband said: “All the commitments I laid out are still our commitments.

“It is true to say that on our £28 billion commitment, we are now phasing it in rather than doing it from year one.

“Partly that is because frankly we wouldn’t be able to spend £28 billion a year and partly because of the fiscal situation with Liz Truss’s mini-budget and all that.

“I understand why you might be disappointed by that frankly, personally I think that is still a massive world-leading commitment, it is miles bigger than what’s happening in the US with the inflation reduction act that Joe Biden has done.

“I’m sure I won’t always do the right thing in your eyes, but we have a world-leading agenda and we’re absolutely not resigning from it, we’re absolutely committed to it.”

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Glastonbury Festival 2023
Mr Miliband stood to speak to the festivalgoers (Tom Leese/PA)

Labour had promised in 2021 to invest £28 billion a year until 2030 in green projects if it came to power, but earlier this month shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said drastic changes to the economic backdrop over the past two years mean the party’s full spending pledge should be delayed.

Towards the start of the debate Mr Miliband stood up to address the crowd as he listed several points on how politics can help climate action adding: “You’ve got to tell the truth” in politics – a comment which was met with cheers.

He was joined on the panel by Areeba Hamid, co-director of Greenpeace UK, energy and climate commentator Sepi Golzari-Munro and Extinction Rebellion activist Nick Anim.

After Mr Anim had earlier quoted Martin Luther King, Mr Miliband said: “Martin Luther King said ‘I have a dream’ not ‘I have a nightmare’.

“And, look, we’ve got to talk about the truth about the nightmare. We’ve go to talk about the nightmare, we’ve got to tell the truth about the nightmare.”

He added: “This challenge, this emergency, is the emergency of not just our generation but also of future generations.”

Towards the end of the talk one man heckled Mr Miliband.

Aidan, who said he was part of the campaign group Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! asked Mr Miliband during the question-and-answer session to “be honest” about what he claimed was Labour’s role in driving climate change by “dispossessing” natural resources from the Middle East.

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Debate chairman John Harris, a Guardian columnist, described the group Aidan represents as one which has a “long-standing opposition to the Labour Party”.

The man’s shouting was met with jeers from the crowd, with one man head saying: “Oh shut up.”

  • June 24, 2023