Voters to Lib Dems: live up to your nuclear promise!

Posted by Niall Sookoo — 6 June 2011 at 6:00pm - Comments
Setting sun shines through nuclear protest flag with radioactive symbol
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace / Philip Reynaers
The Lib Dems have long been anti-nuclear. Time to put policy into practice

On the eve of a vital vote on taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power, we've published the results of an exclusive opinion poll which shows that the majority of people - 46 per cent - oppose any future subsidy for the nuclear power industry - compared to less than a third who support it (32%).

Liberal Democrat MPs stood at the last election on a manifesto pledge of opposing new nuclear power and ending public subsidy: these opinion poll findings will be a reminder of what the electorate expect.

When asked how Lib Dem MPs should vote in any future bill on public subsidy for nuclear, 51 per cent said they wanted them to either vote against or abstain from any future parliamentary vote.

Among Liberal Democrat voters, the expectation that their MPs should live up to their manifesto promises was even greater, with just under two thirds of respondents (63 per cent) saying they wanted Lib Dem MPs to either vote against or abstain.

Three Liberal Democrat MPs -Stephen Williams, Roger Williams and Mike Crockart - will have the opportunity this week to stick with their election promises when an amendment to the Finance Bill is put before the Public Bill Committee on Tuesday that will rule out future taxpayer subsidy. 

One of them, Mike Crokart, made his views clear on nuclear subsidy a year ago when he said:

"I still remain concerned that Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations can be built without the need for any public subsidies. There are too many unknown risk factors in the construction and decommissioning of these plants and history has proven that significant cost overruns have led to governments across the world having to step in and save the projects.

"In Scotland we have the potential to become a world leader in the renewable energy industry and I urge the Government to invest in these schemes before throwing money at the nuclear energy industry."

So the question for the Lib Dem Three on Tuesday, when the amendment comes before the committee, will be can they display muscular liberalism or Liberal capitulation.

Download the YouGov poll, Subsidies for Nuclear Power Stations here (PDF, 64.2KB) >>

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