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Dropping green pledges would be ‘political suicide’, Sunak and Starmer warned

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Britain’s leaders have been warned against a “politically suicidal” lurch away from their green pledges as concerns grow that both major parties may dilute their plans to combat the climate crisis in the wake of a shock byelection result.

Senior figures from business, the scientific community and across the political divide warned that any watering down of climate policies would be deeply unpopular with voters, set back the international fight to reach net zero and damage Britain’s green reputation.

There are fears that both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer will loosen their support for such policies after the Conservatives’ surprise win in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip byelection on Thursday. The Tories narrowly won the seat, by just 495 votes, with a campaign that capitalised on opposition to plans by London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan to extend the ultra low emission zone (Ulez).

Sunak is already being urged by the right of the party and some of his own cabinet to rethink his commitment to green policies in the light of the Uxbridge result. Meanwhile, a senior Labour MP…

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