We’ve already reported the cabinet row ahead of Monday’s decision over carbon targets, with Vince Cable among those warning about the implications on Britain’s economic competitiveness.
David Cameron and George Osborne have a complex decision to make in weighing up their promise to be “the greenest government ever” and their desperate need to get the economy on track again.
And now Ed Miliband has weighed in, saying he is “dismayed at the news that the recommendations (from the committee on climate change) may be watered down.
I’ve seen a letter that the leader of the opposition is about to send to the prime minister, suggesting that any such dilution would mark an end to the cross-party consensus on climate change.
The recent clash over AV has been portrayed as evidence of a rot at the heart of government between Lib Dems and Tories.
In fact, many of the rows within Whitehall since last May have not fallen into a predictable party pattern. If anything, ministers have tended to take a stance based on the department they occupy rather than their party’s pre-election manifesto. Immigration was one such issue, where certain Tories surprised their new comrades by being more liberal than the Liberals.
Take BIS, for example, where Lib Dems Vince Cable and Ed Davey are not exactly showing a herbivore sandal-wearing attitude. Last week, Davey and Francis Maude held private talks with Boris Johnson over ways to tackle the London strikes. It was Davey, I’m told, who showed a tougher outlook than Maude, wondering why Britain couldn’t – for instance – have the “minimum service agreements” (used in Spain) to stop public services being crippled by strikes.
David Willetts made a similar point this evening about the need for both coalition partners to share responsibility for all policy, good and bad.