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Rishi Sunak accused of flip flopping on onshore wind ban

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Rishi Sunak, currently the bookie’s number two favourite to be the UK’s next Prime Minister, has been accused of flip flopping on his pledge to ban new onshore wind farms. 

On July 20, following four rounds of voting, Conservative MPs were finally going to select which two candidates it was going to nominate to become the next party leader and Prime Minister of the UK in the fifth and final round of voting. The winner out of those two candidates would then be decided amongst Conservative Party members. 

While it was already expected that Rishi Sunak was going to be one of the two names on the final ballot, Sunak was taking no chances and announced a major new policy to shore up support amongst MPs. That policy was to ban the construction of any new onshore wind farms, noting that they cause ‘distress and disruption’. 

Despite receiving fierce backlash from many within the electrical industry, especially given the ongoing energy crisis and the fact that onshore wind is the cheapest and quickest form of electricity generation available, the policy wasn’t all too surprising. That’s because there had long been rumours of Sunak’s opposition to onshore wind within Boris Johnson’s cabinet. 

However, it seems Sunak has had a sudden change of heart, unsurprising given the constant u-turns of the two candidates in this leadership election. At a Conservative Party hustings in Cardiff, Sunak was asked if he would “be bold enough to scrap the embargo of onshore wind.” Given his long-standing opposition to onshore wind, audience members would have been expecting him to tell party members why he wouldn’t scrap the embargo, instead he noted, “Yes, in a nutshell.” 

This led to Liz Truss’ campaign accusing Sunak of another embarrassing flip flop, although the Sunak campaign countered that by noting that he had simply misspoke at the hustings and that the policy hadn’t changed. Unsurprising, but I’ll let you read the full quote to ascertain if he really misspoke. 

“Yes, in a nutshell. We’ve already said that we are aiming to do that where we can do it with local communities.

“That has proven difficult, but I think actually with the different economic incentives, it might be possible that we can get that to work.”

Whether he misspoke or not, Sunak was back to parroting his old line of opposition to onshore wind farms during a Sky News debate. During the debate he also made time to showcase his support for both coal and fracking – hardly the commitment to net zero you’d expect from the next Prime Minister.

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