Braverman comes out fighting as Tory civil war rages over Sunak’s green plans

Suella Braverman grilled on commitment to Net Zero pledge

Suella Braverman insisted “we are not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people” as a Tory civil war rages over Rishi Sunak preparing to row back on green measures.

The Prime Minister is planning to push back the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars until 2035 and delay the phasing out of gas boilers.

The move has sparked a bitter row within the party, with one MP refusing to rule out submitting a letter of no confidence in Mr Sunak.

But the Home Secretary, a key figure on the Conservative right, backed the PM for taking “difficult decisions… in the national interest”.

She told Sky News: “We absolutely remain committed to delivering net zero by 2050 in line with our international agreements.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak to delay ban on sale of petrol and diesel cars by five years

“It’s right that we aspire to roll out these policies and remain steadfast in that commitment. We’ve achieved a huge amount in the last 10 years or so.

“But we also need to adopt an approach of pragmatism and proportionality. Fundamentally we’re not going to save the planet by bankrupting the British people.”

Ms Braverman went on: “We need to put economic growth first, we need to put household costs and budgets first, we need to put the cost of living first.

“And we’re only going to achieve that net zero target whereby people and the British people can go about their daily lives using their cars, using the facilities that are available in a pragmatic way.”

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She praised Mr Sunak for “taking difficult decisions, long-term decisions, in the national interest and in the interest of the British people”.

The prospect of weakening environmental pledges has been condemned by the green wing of the Conservatives.

Mr Sunak, who is expected to set out his plans in a speech this week, last night insisted the Government remains committed to the 2050 net zero target but will achieve it “in a better, more proportionate way”.

He said that politicians “of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs” and have “taken the easy way out, saying we can have it all”.

Mr Sunak, who is attempting to draw a dividing line with Labour before the next general election, sought to position himself as the bringer of “real change” who would “put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment”.

But former Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma warned that watering down green policies could cost the Tories votes.

Conservative peer Zac Goldsmith, who quit as environment minister in June with a scathing attack on Mr Sunak’s “apathy” on the climate, said: “His short stint as PM will be remembered as the moment the UK turned its back on the world and on future generations. A moment of shame.”

And Chris Skidmore, a Tory former energy minister who led a government-commissioned review on net zero, did not rule out submitting a letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

He added that it was “potentially the greatest mistake of his premiership so far”.

But Craig Mackinlay, leader of the Tory Net Zero Scrutiny Group, said the expected announcements by Mr Sunak were “sensible and pragmatic”.

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