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Ed Miliband mocks ’19th century’ Rees-Mogg and accuses him of ‘climate denial’

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband Ed Miliband during the Labour Party conference at the ACC Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)
Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband Ed Miliband during the Labour Party conference at the ACC Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Ed Miliband has mocked “19th century” Jacob Rees-Mogg and accused him of spreading “dangerous climate denial”.

In his speech at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, the shadow climate change secretary said a Labour government would make Britain the first major country in the world to set and achieve the target of zero-carbon power by 2030.

Mr Miliband criticised the Government’s decision to open the door for fracking and ripped into the new Business Secretary, Mr Rees-Mogg, for coming up with an “energy policy for the 1820s”.

He told the exhibition centre: “A man who says we should extract ‘every last drop’ of oil and gas, even though it would mean three degrees of global warming.

Ed Miliband during the Labour Party conference at the ACC Liverpool
Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband during the Labour Party conference at the ACC Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

“A man who says ‘trying to forecast the climate is unrealistic, the cost is probably unaffordable’.

“Let’s call it what it is: this is dangerous climate denial.

“If you want an energy policy for the 1820s, Jacob Rees-Mogg sure is your man. If you want one for the 2020s, we need a Labour government.”

On what Labour would do to make Britain a “clean energy superpower”, he stressed the low cost of solar and wind energy and concerns over global supplies.

He said: “That’s why for bills, for security and for climate, I am proud to announce a Labour government will make Britain the first major country in the world to set and achieve the target of zero-carbon power by 2030.

“The essential foundation of the drive to net zero. Britain a clean energy superpower. Saving £93 billion off bills.

“We will do it by sweeping away Tory dogma that is holding our country back. It is within our grasp. Isn’t it?”

Mr Miliband was not the only shadow cabinet minister to criticise Mr Rees-Mogg in his conference speech on Monday morning.

Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds took the stage after the Labour former leader to launch the party’s industrial strategy.

He said: “In the face of an energy crisis, a business investment crisis, a climate crisis, who do they pick to meet these challenges?

“Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“One newspaper said he was better suited to running a museum than the business department.

“Frankly, museums are far too important for that.”

Mr Reynolds also told delegates policies such as “fair pay agreements” will be to the next Labour government what the national minimum wage was to the last one.

On the industrial strategy, he said: “We will harness data for the public good, ensuring it isn’t just held by corporate gatekeepers but used to benefit us all.

“We will bolster our national resilience, ensuring our supply chains and working people are never again left so exposed to global shocks.”

Mr Reynolds insisted Labour will treat the care sector as “an essential part of our economy”.

He added: “And conference, I pledge to you now, there will never, ever be a scandal like P&O Ferries under a Labour government.”