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Yeo’s call to arms tests loyalty of Lib Dems

Tim Yeo plans to table a parliamentary amendment calling for a radical plan that would make power generation almost entirely green by 2030.
The move by the chairman of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee threatens to reopen the rift in the coalition over energy policy.
The Conservative MP and former Environment Minister will table an amendment when the bill reaches the report stage to try to reinstate a target for decarbonisation.

If introduced, this target would require most of Britain’s electricity to be generated from low-carbon sources such as nuclear and wind farms. The target has been backed by the Government’s independent advisor and the amendment will be passed if Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs vote in favour of the Bill, along with a handful of Tory rebels.

Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, had fought the Treasury to include the target in the energy Bill, which receives its second reading in the House of Commons today. But he agreed to drop it in return for securing billions of pounds of subsidies for renewables in what he called a “grand energy bargain” struck with George Osborne.

Mr Yeo’s call to arms will test the loyalty of Liberal Democrat MPs in particular. Labour has already committed itself to a decarbonisation target. At their party conference in September, Liberal Democrats also approved a motion, put forward by the Cabinet secretary Danny Alexander, calling for the target to be introduced. But Liberal Democrats MPs are likely to come under pressure from their party to fall into line with the coalition on the issue.

Earlier yesterday morning, Mr Yeo lambasted the Chancellor’s so-called “dash for gas”, under which more than 40 new gas plants could be built by 2030.

“Lumbering the UK economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad,” he said.