KEMI Badenoch last night admitted she could push back Boris Johnson’s green targets – hours after promising Tory MPs she would keep them.
The new grassroots favourite – who has soared in popularity with members – had vowed not to rip up Britain’s legally binding promises to reach Net Zero by 2050 in a private meeting of Tory MPs.
Ms Badenoch pointed to her upbringing in Nigeria – seeing first-hand the impact of climate change on the nation.
But she repeated worries that no politician in Parliament now would be around by then to see the plan through.
Just hours later, she appeared to row back on her words, telling Talk TV: “Yes, there are circumstances where I would delay it.
“What I want to see is what is the reasonable plan to get to net zero and to solve the climate change problem.”
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She added: “I think it’s a red herring.
“If you can’t answer how much it’s going to cost, you might as well say 2150, or 2250, it’s neither here nor there.”
During Sunday evening’s ITV leadership debate she pointedly refused to publicly back the target, and warned of its costs.
She said it must not damage the economy or would risk other countries abandoning the target too, saying: “If there are things in the plan that will make life difficult for ordinary people, I will change them.
“If we bankrupt ourselves, we will be leaving a terrible future for our children. I will not allow that.”
All of the other leadership candidates have vowed to stick to the law, which binds Britain to eliminating all its emissions by 2050.
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Climate Chief Alok Sharma, who rallied the world to follow Britain’s lead at COP26, had threatened to resign if the next PM did so – and hailed all candidates backing the target.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss has said she wants to take green levies off bills and fold them into general taxes to help ease the cost of living crisis.
And Rishi Sunak vowed to stick to green plans without going “too hard or too fast” to help build a better world for his two daughters.