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Scotland must not be excluded from climate talks

October 14, 2009 4:17 PM

Jo has slammed the Government for refusing to allow Scottish Ministers to join the UK delegation to climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Jo highlighted Scotland's strong record on promoting renewable energy and its ambitious targets to cut carbon emissions. She called on the Government to put party politics aside and allow Scottish Ministers to join the UK delegation to the international conference on climate change taking place in Copenhagen.

Governments in both Westminster and Holyrood have responsibilities for tackling climate change, and the Scottish Parliament has set a target to cut carbon emissions by 42% by 2020, while Westminster has committed only to a 34% reduction. However, the Labour Government is refusing to allow Scottish Ministers to join the UK team.

In advance of the Copenhagen conference, Jo will be collecting messages to Gordon Brown from local people in East Dunbartonshire on Saturday 24th October. She will be at Bearsden Burgh Hall from 11:30am-12:30pm and at The Hub at Woodhill Evangelical Church in Bishopbriggs from 1:30 - 2:30pm, and is inviting anyone with something to say to the Prime Minister on climate change to come along and give her their message.

Commenting, Jo said:

"What is needed at the Copenhagen conference in December are good examples of countries who are leading the way on tackling climate change. Scotland provides just such an example, and it is disgraceful that the Labour Government is letting party politics get in the way of progress on an issue of such great global importance. There is no good reason why Scottish Ministers should not be allowed to be part of the UK delegation to Copenhagen, and I hope the Government will reconsider its position as a matter of urgency."

The text of Jo Swinson's questions to the Secretary of State for Scotland appears below:

Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): What recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on the representation of Scottish interests at the forthcoming Copenhagen summit on climate change.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Jim Murphy): The Copenhagen summit provides the opportunity for a vital step forward in securing a binding global agreement on climate change action. The Prime Minister has confirmed that he will be attending the Copenhagen summit.

Jo Swinson: I thank the Secretary of State for that reply. Scotland has much to contribute to tackling climate change, as it has a strong renewables record and an ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by 42 per cent. by 2020. Can the right hon. Gentleman not put party politics aside and accept that Scottish Ministers should also be part of the UK delegation to Copenhagen?

Mr. Murphy: We have put party politics aside, and the SNP Scottish Government will be treated in exactly the same way that their Labour predecessors were treated. The best way to get Scotland's climate change interests represented at Copenhagen is through the attendance of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. As far as I am concerned-and the same goes for the majority of Members of this House, and of people across Scotland-the UK will, of course and for the foreseeable future, include Scotland as an equal, full and strong part.