Both “would be impossible to achieve – we instead favour practical, reasonable steps to protect our planet while keeping bills down,” states the document issued by the Conservative Research Department. It presents a series of template responses and political points that candidates should use.
On climate, it says that they should remind their prospective constituents that the UK became the first advanced economy to legislate for net zero by 2050 and that greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by a third since the coalition government entered power in 2010. “But we know we have to do more and will put climate change at the heart of the Conservative agenda,” it adds.
Labour’s intention to nationalise electricity generation “will drive away the crucial investment we need to introduce new clean technology and wreck the economy, meaning higher bills for families,” claims the guidance.
It also says that Labour’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2030 is “utterly unachievable”.
However, the statement is inaccurate, as the motion passed at Labour’s annual conference called on the party leadership to adopt the goal. It is not binding and the party’s manifesto has not yet been published. A group of independent experts tasked with finding the most feasible way to meet it found that it would add £800bn to the economy, create 850,000 new jobs and save the NHS £400 million per year.
The document also offers talking points on the potential threat to the NHS of a post-Brexit US trade deal and says that there is no need to sign any pledge to support Brexit. “A Conservative government with a functioning majority will immediately get Brexit done,” it states.
It generally advises against signing up to any pledges at all, though candidates “may sign if they deem it appropriate” a pledge to support “a flagship Environment Bill”.
The party is taking “World-leading action to tackle the scourge of plastics. We have already banned plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds from April next year and we’re introducing a landmark Environment Bill that both encourage producers to cut waste and protect our precious water resources,” it states.
“Labour want to remain in the EU – meaning they could not seize many of the environmental opportunities presented by leaving,” the guidance claims.
The only other pledge that candidates may undertake is to promote the interests of game shooting through joining the All Party Parliamentary Group on Shooting and Conservation. The guidance says that though it is “essential that our wildlife is properly protected”, with shooting “worth around £2bn to the economy, much of it in our remotest communities”.