Politics

MPs set to reject Lords Environment Bill amendments – follow updates live


Boris Johnson says private sector ‘trillions’ key to tackling climate crisis

Campaigners have expressed anger following reports George Eustice, the environment secretary, recommended MPs reject almost all changes made to the Environment Bill by the House of Lords, which are to be debated by in the Commons this afternoon.

The amendments included greater protection for ancient woodland and strengthening powers of the proposed new independent watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection.

Ministers previously said they wanted the legislation passed before the Cop26 climate summit, which begins on 31 October, leading to reports peers may opt to exert leverage by threatening to delay the Bill. However, the government said it would bring forward its own changes to demonstrate “global leadership” before the conference in Glasgow.

Greener UK, a coalition of 12 environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, described the news as “hugely disappointing”, with Green Alliance accusing the government of being “determined to pass a bill that will see weaker domestic protections for people and nature”.

Elsewhere, justice secretary Dominic Raab will publish new sentencing guidelines today to raise the minimum prison sentence for terror plotters to 14 years. It comes as police continue to question Ali Harbi Ali, 25, over the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess last week. Ali has been detained under the Terrorism Act.

Follow our live coverage below

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House of Commons schedule for Wednesday

Here’s a breakdown of all the sessions scheduled to take place in the Commons chamber today.

12pm Prime Minister’s Questions

12.30pm Urgent questions/statements

Tributes to James Brokenshire

A 10-minute rule motion on Decarbonisation and Economic Strategy

Environment Bill – consideration of Lords amendments

A short debate on NHS dentistry in Lincolnshire

For a full Parliamentary schedule, including timings for Westminster Hall and the House of Lords, head here.

Sam Hancock20 October 2021 08:03

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Terrorist minimum prison sentence raised amid Amess fallout

Terrorists who make plans to kill at least two people will face longer in prison under new sentencing guidelines published today, a new report suggests.

Justice secretary Dominic Raab has argued that the new advice for judges to hand down sentences of a minimum of 14 years would send a stronger message to those who plot to “kill and maim in the name of warped and fanatical ideologies”.

The Ministry of Justice’s move comes as police continue to question Ali Harbi Ali, 25, over the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess last week. He is being detained under the Terrorism Act, reports Lamiat Sabin.

The Sentencing Council has confirmed it will advise judges that the starting point for sentencing those who plot to kill with terror motives should be a minimum of 14 years, according to The Times.

Sam Hancock20 October 2021 08:00

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MPs set to reject Lords amendments to Environment Bill

Environment secretary George Eustice has rejected almost all the changes to the Environment Bill voted for by the House of Lords, with reports suggesting he has advised MPs to do the same ahead of a Commons debate on the changes later today.

The changes included greater protection for ancient woodland and a legal duty on water companies to reduce sewage damage to rivers.

The Greener UK coalition said the government’s decision was “hugely disappointing,” especially ahead of this month’s Cop26 climate summit. But the government said it would be bringing forward its own changes to the bill, to demonstrate “global leadership” before the conference in Glasgow.

The government says the bill – which was published in 2019 – is designed to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution, restore wildlife, and protect the climate.

The law sets up a new independent watchdog, the Office for Environmental Protection, to monitor progress on improving the environment. During the bill’s passage through the House of Lords, peers voted for an amendment which sought to strengthen the watchdog’s powers.

They also voted to reverse a government move to exempt defence, national security and fiscal policy from a requirement to consider environmental principles when making policies.

On Tuesday morning, though, it was revealed Mr Eustice had formally recommended MPs reject almost all of the proposals.

Sam Hancock20 October 2021 07:57

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling UK politics coverage. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates from Wednesday, with Boris Johnson set to face off against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in Prime Minister’s Questions at 12pm.

Sam Hancock20 October 2021 07:44


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