Last night (9 May) I had the great opportunity to take part in a panel discussion on Energy and Climate Change as part of UpRising's Environmental Leadership Programme. I put forward the Labour Party's policies on climate change and energy to the audience of many of this country's future leaders on climate change.
I learnt a lot from the other distinguished members of this panel and from the audience themselves. I am not an expert on these issues, like the other members of the panel and the chair (Lord Deben, Sir Edward Davey, Caroline Russell, and Emma Howard) but these issues matter greatly to me on a personal level and I know they matter to the Labour Party. In the constituency where I am standing, Cities of London and Westminster, air pollution is a huge problem and one that needs addressing urgently. Moreover, many in the constituency place great importance on environmental issues.
It was a great evening and I found it very encouraging to see so many young people, clearly so passionately engaged with these and political issues generally. There was definitely a strong pro-Remain sentiment in the room and everyone on the panel expressed their concern over how Brexit will affect our environmental legislation. As a remain voter myself, I sympathise greatly with these concerns. I outlined to the audience how, if elected, I would fight to get the best Brexit deal possible.
I also spoke about the Labour Party's proposed cap on energy prices and drew attention to the many failings of the Tory government in tackling climate change or supporting innovative business growth through renewable energy technologies.
It was heartening to hear the other speakers put forward so clearly and passionately their plans for our country to tackle climate change and to use that to grow business. I am of the firm belief that giving businesses the means to tackle climate change can actually be a way of helping them grow and innovate.
All in all, a great evening! I am very grateful to the organisers for having me, to my fellow participants and to the young people who are ready to fight for the future of their country and planet.