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Green government, reforming government: the liberal influence

May 17, 2011 6:50 PM
By Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister & Leader of the Liberal Democrats

Dear Friends

I'm delighted to let you know about two developments in government today - reinforcing our commitment to being the greenest government ever and publishing our plans for an elected second chamber.

Our party has always been the greenest among the mainstream political parties. We put the commitment to put make Britain greener on the front cover of our manifesto. And I'm proud that we're living up to that reputation in Government - even in these difficult economic times.

Chris Huhne and Vince Cable have today announced proposals for binding carbon targets in the run-up to 2050, ensuring that the UK meet our ambitions to cut carbon emissions. We are setting an example to the world in our bid to be the 'greenest government ever'. The decision will help ensure the UK becomes a global hub for low-carbon investment in off-shore wind, wave and tidal power and other green industries by providing long-term clarity for investors. For more information, see here.

Our party has an even longer commitment when it comes to House of Lords reform. We started the job a century ago, and now we can complete it.

The Prime Minister and I are today announcing that the first elections to a reformed upper chamber will take place in 2015 - for a 300-member chamber, with each representative eligible for a single term of three parliaments.

The Coalition Agreement committed the Government to supporting a wholly or mainly elected second chamber. That is why today's proposals contain two options: 100% elected, or 80% elected with the remaining 20% appointed independently.

It's no secret that Liberal Democrats strongly favour a wholly-elected second chamber. That is the simplest, purest, and most democratic option. But we should not make the perfect the enemy of the very good. That approach has stymied Lords reform for too long. And 80% is very much better than 0%; and a lot more than Labour managed in 13 years of governing alone.

From constitutional reform to the environment, the Liberal Democrat imprint on the coalition government is clear. Our policies and principles are making this country, more green, more fair - and more liberal.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg MP

Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister