Barry Gardiner, Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, Europe, Energy and Climate Change, has extended a formal offer to the Government to work across party lines to speed up UK ratification of the global climate deal.
Mr Gardiner wrote to the Prime Minister last week urging her government to take all steps to ensure the UK joins the Paris Agreement on climate change by the end of the year.
Today he reached out to his counterpart, energy secretary Greg Clark, offering to use an Opposition Day debate Mr Gardiner secured for this Wednesday to complete MPs' formal sign off on the deal.
Barry Gardiner said,
"Coming after the US and China have jointly ratified the global climate deal, it is time for the UK to regain the bipartisan political leadership that saw Britain adopt the historic Climate Change Act back in 2008.
"The government have currently failed to identify any parliamentary time for the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement. By accepting my offer the government could bring forward our domestic ratification and elevate MPs' discussion of the Paris deal from an obscure committee corridor at some unspecified future date, to the first business of the new session on the floor of the House of Commons.
"We need to re establish common ground on this vital issue. I am holding out an olive branch to the government to that effect. Their acceptance would be a welcome acknowledgement that climate change is not just one of the most important challenges we face but is one where all politicians must be seen to be working together. "
Notes to Editors
1. For the UK to ratify the Paris Agreement, both houses of Parliament must approve the treaty. The normal procedure for domestic ratification would see the Government issue a command paper which would then be discussed by a small committee of MPs. To date the government has not indicated that it is ready to do this.
2. If UK does not begin domestic ratification procedures shortly, the UK risks being left out of the group of founding parties to the agreement when it comes into force - which experts estimate will happen by the end of this year.
3. Mr Gardiner's original motion for debate on Wednesday calls for urgent ratification to reassure investors whose confidence has dipped as a result of the government's energy and climate policy. However, Labour is now offering to work with the government to amend the current critical motion and to produce a bipartisan debate to formally get MPs' approval in order to accelerate the UK's ratification of the deal.