Sunday shows: Ed Miliband explains Labour stance on energy nationalisation

The Andrew Marr Show

Ed Miliband, the Shadow Business Secretary, talked about COP26. He also reiterated Labour’s opposition to cutting air passenger duty cut on domestic flights, said he was “sceptical” about a meat tax, and explained Labour’s position on energy nationalisation after he said Labour was in favour of it but Keir Starmer said the party would not nationalise the Big Six.

  • On ‘keeping 1.5 alive’: “At the moment the UN says we’re not going to halve global emissions this decade, we’re just going to just cut them by 7%. That’s the gap.”
  • On COP26: “This has got to be a real negotiation, not just people coming along with their pre-prepared announcements… It is existential for countries around the world. We’ve got to push much harder at this summit.”
  • Asked whether Labour would reverse the air passenger duty cut for domestic flights: “We’ll set that out in the manifesto… There’s no question about our position on this, we’re completely against this.”
  • On whether domestic flights must be scrapped completely: “Not completely, but as much as possibly can.” He added: “We’ve got to give people alternatives… Fairness and giving people alternatives is a key part of making this transition happen.”
  • On a meat tax: “I’m sceptical about a meat tax, and let me explain why… The British people want us to tackle this problem. Right across the population, they care about this. But they’re asking this question: is this transition going to be fair?”
  • On nationalising energy company Bulb: “There’s two options in relation to energy companies that are in trouble. One is to get their customers taken on by other companies, which is what’s been happening. Secondly is a last resort to say we should have a special administration regime where it’s held in the public sector. I think we look at both of those options.”
  • In response to Marr saying that is not nationalisation: “Well, it would be actually, in the short term. And then they’d go back into the market place. The test on this is, do you get value for money for bill payers and taxpayers?”
  • Asked about Keir Starmer’s view of nationalising energy, he defended the Labour leader, saying: “There’s a role for common ownership in relation to energy. But there’s lots of different aspects to common ownership in energy. There’s supply, there’s generation, there’s distribution and there’s the grid. The energy market clearly isn’t working. We’re going to step back and look at what the right way of modelling our energy system in the future is. So there’s a role for common ownership, but we’ll set out at the election what it is exactly.”

Alok Sharma refused to say why the government will not stop a proposed expansion of an oil field in the UK. The COP26 president said only that “any licences that are granted will have to be compatible with our legal requirement to be net zero by 2050” and that stopping the project is “not in his power”.

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry discussed COP26, which begins today in Glasgow, calling on Boris Johnson to get “serious” and warning that the climate conference is “not a giant photo opportunity”.

  • On the climate emergency: “We had a commitment in Paris to keep to 1.5 degrees. So we had this ambition but we don’t seem to have the plans… What we need at the end of this COP meeting is for countries to have plans.”
  • On COP26: “Quite often before these summits happen, a great deal of work has been done and countries have got quite a long way to the agreement before you get the final agreement at the meeting itself, and my concern is that there’s still so much work to be done at Glasgow that a particular leader turning up or not is not going to make a difference.”
  • Asked what a Labour government would have done that the Tory government has not: “We would need to be making sure that we were doing really serious negotiations for a much longer period than this government has done.”
  • She added: “We would be showing leadership by example… We would not be having a Budget in which we were suddenly cutting taxes on internal flights. We would not be cutting back on the amount of money available to invest in the developed world.”
  • On funding promised at the Paris summit to protect the Marshall Islands: “We should be putting in the amount that we promised. I mean, nations turned up at Paris, they made pledges, they get the fanfare, they get the headlines and then the money isn’t available.”
  • On Boris Johnson and the climate summit this week: “I would really like to see the Prime Minister use such statesmanship as he has to put all effort into Glasgow. It is not all lost, but we really do need to be serious about it. This is not a giant photo opportunity. We cannot spend our time greenwashing.”

Alok Sharma also appeared on the show this morning. The COP26 president told viewers that “we have been asking countries to set out their long-term strategies” and that he wants “more out of every country”.

The ministers said it is not just Russia and China that need to do more to tackle the climate crisis. He called on all countries to unite against climate change and said world leaders “have to deliver” on commitments that they have made.

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