Yesterday 27 Labour MPs defied the Government and supported a measure to introduce a new green standard for power stations. In effect, if passed, this measure would have ruled out the possibility of building new power stations, such as Kingsnorth.
Joss Garman, blogging at Left Foot Forward, has blamed poor Lib Dem turnout for the defeat of this measure. Apparently Clegg, Cable and Huhne were absent from the proceedings. There was also the absence of key Labour rebels such as Dianne Abbott and Austin Mitchell, who had promised to support the Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) for new power stations. In a vote, which was won by the Government on the tightest of margins (252 MPs voted against the EPS whilst 244 voted in favour), a Green MP could have made all the difference.
The reason why is because a vote such as this is natural Green territory. It is of the utmost importance for the Green party to ensure that no new coal-fired power stations are built. A break with the old technologies and an embrace of new, environmentally sustainable technology, is a cornerstone of Green party policy. Whilst one vote from a Green MP would not have made a difference, a Green MP speaking at the debate, working behind the scenes, encouraging those key rebels to come out and vote, could have made all the difference. Because the Commons has no, singular MP that ranks the environment as a top priority issue, the laziness of other MPs saw the defeat of the measure.
This is why we need Green MPs, a vote such as this should not be lost again. Having just one Green MP could make all the difference.