On Wednesday as part of the Prime Minister Questions, Caroline Lucas who is our local MP asked Boris Johnson a question and in doing so she located it very carefully in a wider context. The answer that Johnson provided skirted around his own history and that of our current nation in the same context but he ignored entirely the detail of the question. Much more disturbing than his refusal to respond was that he was ignoring the impact across the world and the view of a schoolgirl called Lizzie along with 90,000 other people have expressed their concerns about this issue. Johnson was clearly unwilling to acknowledge it to Lucas but also to the rest of our Nation.
Before we look at the question and answer let us have a look at the Conservative Manifesto which Lucas and Johnson both referred to to differing degrees and which it appears that Johnson is ignoring in his activities. The first element here is from page 55 of the 2019 Manifesto
Fight climate change and protect the environment
Conservation is, and always has been, at the heart of Conservatism. Our Government’s stewardship of the natural environment, its focus on protecting the countryside and reducing plastic waste, is a source of immense pride…… We will establish a new £500 million Blue Planet Fund to help protect our oceans from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures and overfishing, and extend the Blue Belt programme to preserve the maritime environment.
And then on page 43
Stewards of our environment
We will continue to lead the world in tackling plastics pollution, both in the UK and internationally, and will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging. We will introduce extended producer responsibility, so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce, and boost domestic recycling. We will ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.
We will crack down on the waste and carelessness that destroys our natural environment and kills marine life. We will increase penalties for fly-tipping, make those on community sentences clean up their parks and streets, and introduce a deposit return scheme to incentivise people to recycle plastic and glass.
So that is the basis for Boris Johnson and his colleagues election as the dominant political party. Let us then look at the question and answer from Wednesday.
Caroline Lucas: There is a yawning gulf between the Government’s green rhetoric and their action. Hot on the heels of sanctioning the first deep coalmine in 30 years, Ministers have broken yet another election manifesto promise and will keep sending plastic waste to developing countries, where they are regularly dumped or burnt. Nine-year-old schoolgirl Lizzie knows that this is wrong, and she has a simple message for the Prime Minister: protect our oceans and people living in poorer countries by banning these dirty plastic exports now. Will he listen to Lizzie and to the 90,000 signatories to her petition and stop this damaging and unethical practice—yes or no?
Boris Johnson: First of all, I must absolutely contest and deny what the hon. Member has said about action. She talks about coalmines, and she may not know that in 1970—I was alive; she may not have been alive—this country got 90% of its energy from fossil fuels, from coal, and we now get 5%. That is thanks to the green, active, technologically optimistic policies driven by Conservative Governments, and I am very proud of it. I am also proud of what we are doing to ban plastic and ban the export of plastic waste around the world, which is in our Conservative party manifesto, which we will fulfil.