Chris Huhne has once again come under pressure yesterday as a leading Lib Dem called for his resignation and Hedge End Councillor Lousie Bloom wrote to The Guardian in protest over the Energy Secretary’s Nuclear strategy.
Cllr Bloom, Eastleigh’s cabinet member for the environment co-signed a letter to The Guardian arguing that the proposals for a carbon price floor are in effect a public subsidy to the Nuclear Industry pointing that the party had already rejected nuclear subsidies and any change in that position would result in another “tuition fees debacle.”
Both Cllr Bloom and Chris Huhne had appeared side by side at a public meeting in Eastleigh last November organised by friends of Earth where they both appeared to be in accord that Nuclear Power should not receive any Public Subsidy but Mr Huhne’s position seems to have changed considerably since.
At the climate hustings at Barton Peveril last April, shortly before the general election he had insisted that taxpayers subsidies would be:
“Better used on renewable technologies which could be brought forward more quickly than building a new generation of nuclear power stations.”
“The real skill of the nuclear industry is getting taxpayer’s money out of governments not generating electricity.”
Meanwhile Andy Myles, the party’s former chief executive in Scotland has reacted to publication by The Guardian of a series of emails which the newspaper claims shows evidence of collusion between Mr Huhne’s department – and other government offices – with the Nuclear industry in order to play down the recent crisis at Japans’ Fukushima nuclear plant.
Speaking to The Guardian Mr Myles said:
“This deliberate and sadly, very effective attempt to ‘calm’ the reporting of the true story of Fukushima is a terrible betrayal of liberal values. In my view it is not acceptable that a Liberal Democrat cabinet minister presides over a department deeply involved in a blatant conspiracy designed to manipulate the truth in order to protect corporate interests”.
The published emails emphasised a need to stress the safety of nuclear reactors are in order to prevent the UK nuclear programme from being derailed over public fears.
Since the Fukushima incident Germany has shut down its ageing plants, Switzerland has decided to phase out nuclear power and Italy has had expansion of its nuclear programme voted down in a referendum.
Although the Mr Huhne has claimed that nuclear power is safe from natural disaster in the UK, yesterday two reactors Torness in Scotland had to be shut down after thousands of jellyfish were sucked into the cooling system leading to fears that the reactors could be overheat and go into meltdown.
The Lib Dem coalition has faced previous public censure from Mr Huhne’s constituency party.
Lousie Bloom’s partner Eastleigh Council leader Keith House was recently a co-signatory to a letter published in The Times attacking the coalition over spending cuts and around twenty local Lib Dems wrote to the Echo to protest over the rise in student fees.
In addition several local Lib Dems councillors have left the party claiming it longer represents them these include a former Mayor of Eastleigh Glynn Davies-Dear and last week Totton Lib Dem County Councillor Alan Weeks left saying the party ‘had let down supporters’.
As a reminder of what Mr Huhne said about Nuclear before he became a member of the cabinet:
Photo: Matthew Myatt