A by-election, falling emissions and Global Britain

Hill resignation triggers red wall election

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has resigned with ‘immediate effect’ after it was revealed he had used taxpayer money to challenge sexual harassment claims made against him. The 57-year-old Labour MP’s resignation comes two years after he was suspended by the Party over allegations of sexual harassment and unfair dismissal and four years after he was elected to represent the constituency. 

The Hartlepool seat was one of the few red wall seats that Labour managed to hold in 2019. The town voted heavily in favour of Brexit, and in 2019, the Brexit Party and the Conservatives secured more than 50% of the vote. The by-election will prove to be a litmus test for Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership. If they win, reservations from some in the Party over his leadership will begin to subside. But if they lose, serious questions over his credibility to win back seats lost to the Conservatives will start to be asked.  

UK on track to meet climate targets

It has been revealed that greenhouse gas emissions in the UK have fallen by 51% since 1990, and carbon dioxide emissions fell by 13% last year alone. The reduced reliance of coal-fired power stations has been a major contributor to this – last year, coal supplied only 1.6% of Britain’s electricity. This figure was 67% in 1990. 

This will be welcome news for the Government, particularly in the run-up to COP26, a major global climate conference being held in Glasgow later on this year. The conference has been heralded as the most important since the 2015 Paris Agreement, and it is likely the Government will seek to build on that agreement and agree further legally binding reduction targets. Whilst there is undoubtedly significant work to be done, these positive figures will reinforce the Government’s green credentials at a time when the proposed new coal mine in Cumbria has led many to call them into question.  

Global Britain

Boris Johnson unveiled his plans for ‘global Britain’ this week, which included an expansion of the UK’s nuclear arsenal and analysis of the dangers of biological and chemical warfare. The UK’s relationship with other major global actors was also examined, with striking statements made about both China and Russia. Recognising the economic prominence of China and the importance of tackling global issues collaboratively, the Government’s plans attempt to strike a balance between recognising security risks, maintaining positive relations and deepening ties. The plans labelled Russia the ‘most acute direct threat’ to British security, which will likely further heighten tensions between London and Moscow. 

Charlie Souster Account Executive

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