Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

Rishi Sunak hit by even bigger Tory rebellion after first Commons defeat

Andrea Jenkyns on why she voted against electric car quotas

Rishi Sunak was hit by a second Tory rebellion last night night shortly after suffering his first Commons defeat.

Some 26 Conservative MPs voted against a Government measure on car makers transitioning to zero-emission vehicles.

Despite the revolt, the secondary legislation passed the Commons with the backing of Labour by 381 votes to 37, majority 344.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman, ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and former ministers Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dame Priti Patel were among those who rebelled over the statutory instrument.

It came as the Prime Minister faced his first Commons defeat as 22 Tory MPs voted against the Government over moves to compensate infected blood scandal victims.

Under the zero-emission vehicle mandate, manufacturers need to meet targets on the percentage of electric vehicles sold.

The mandate starts in 2024 when 22 per cent of vehicles sold must be zero emission or manufacturers will be slapped with fines.

The requirement for rising numbers of zero-emission vehicles becomes stricter over time until 2035 when 100 per cent will have to comply.

The rebellion comes after Tory MPs and peers led by Craig Mackinlay, who chairs the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, wrote to Mr Sunak urging him to abandon the net zero vote.

They said in the letter: “The legislation will enforce an aggressive ramp-up of electric vehicle use to 80 per cent of new car sales in 2030 – regardless of what people would prefer or could afford.

“Many in the car industry do not regard this as a realistic aim, but the attempt to get there through legal coercion is likely to cause enormous harm.

“If the cost of buying and running an EV will become cheaper than petrol and diesel cars, mandating them with this law is unnecessary.

“This law is anti-consumer, anti-choice and anti-motorist, and will only leave the public poorer. Car ownership could once again be restricted to the privileged few.”

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