Boris Johnson refuses to apologise for saying Thatcher gave UK ‘early begin’ in local weather change battle by closing coal mines – as backlash grows | UK Information

Boris Johnson has refused to apologise after he stated Margaret Thatcher gave the UK a “huge early begin” in its battle towards local weather change when she closed coal mines within the Eighties.

The PM’s official spokesperson informed reporters that Mr Johnson recognises the “enormous influence and ache” attributable to the closure of coal mines – however didn’t verify whether or not he would ask for forgiveness for the comment.

However Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer known as for the PM to apologise “instantly” and accused the Conservative authorities of not caring about “communities nonetheless affected by the devastating results of Margaret Thatcher’s callous actions”.

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PM: Thatcher gave UK an ‘early begin’ on local weather

And the Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign accused the PM of making an attempt to “rewrite historical past”.

The prime minister made the remark throughout a go to to Scotland on Thursday, when he was requested if he would set a deadline for ending fossil gas extraction.

“Have a look at what we have finished already. We have transitioned away from coal in my lifetime,” he stated.

“Because of Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines throughout the nation, we had a giant early begin and we’re now transferring quickly away from coal altogether.”

Extra on Margaret Thatcher

In line with the Each day Report, the prime minister laughed when he made the reference to Mrs Thatcher, whose time in Downing Avenue (1979-90) featured the miners’ strike of 1984-5.

Mr Johnson is reported to have added: “I believed that might get you going.”

Pressed on the matter on Friday, the PM’s official spokesperson stated: “The prime minister recognises the large influence and ache closing coal mines had in communities throughout the UK.

“This authorities has an formidable plan to sort out the crucial problem of local weather change, which incorporates decreasing reliance on coal and different non-renewable power sources.

“In the course of the go to the prime minister pointed to the large progress already made within the UK transitioning away from coal and in the direction of cleaner types of power, and our dedication to supporting folks and industries on that transition.”

Requested if the PM plans to apologise for his comment, the spokesman added: “You’ve got acquired my phrases there, the prime minister recognises the large influence and ache closing coal mines had in communities throughout the UK.”

The prime minister’s Thatcher remark drew fast condemnation from opposition events and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sir Keir stated the PM’s comment was “a slap within the face” for the coal group.

“The prime minister has proven his true colors but once more,” the Labour chief stated on Friday.

“For Boris Johnson to snigger when speaking in regards to the closure of the coal mines is a slap within the face for communities nonetheless affected by the devastating results of Margaret Thatcher’s callous actions.

“I am proud to have at all times stood with our coalfield communities. I represented the miners in court docket because the Tories tried to shut the pits. These communities contributed a lot to the success of our nation, after which have been deserted.

“The Tories did not care then, they usually do not care now.

“For Boris Johnson to deal with the ache and struggling brought about to our coalfield communities as a punchline reveals simply how out of contact with working folks he’s.

“The prime minister should apologise instantly.”

In a tweet on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon stated: “Lives and communities in Scotland have been completely devastated by Thatcher’s destruction of the coal business (which had zero to do with any concern she had for the planet).

“To deal with that as one thing to snigger about is crass & deeply insensitive to that actuality.”

And Scottish Greens Central Scotland MSP Gillian Mackay added: “Thatcher’s decimation of the coal business had completely nothing to do with environmentalism and all the pieces to do together with her despicable anti-trade union ideology.”

In the meantime, The Orgreave Fact and Justice Marketing campaign (OTJC) stated: “The current boorish, insensitive and ignorant feedback made by the Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, laughingly implying that the Eighties and 90s Tory pit closure programme was about defending the setting, comes as no shock.

“The federal government’s fixed false narrative in regards to the 1984/5 miners’ strike is a part of their try to rewrite historical past and repeat false details about why the Tories needed to destroy organised labour, the Nationwide Union of Mineworkers and the commerce union motion in Britain.

“The Thatcher authorities’s destruction of the British coal business with none various industrial technique to comply with resulted in monumental penalties and struggling for miners, their households and mining communities, and stays a difficulty that’s nonetheless strongly felt throughout Britain right this moment.”

However Conservative MPs have defended the PM’s remarks.

One Conservative MP in a ‘pink wall’ seat informed Sky Information they believed the problem had been “massively overblown”, including the one electronic mail that they had acquired from a constituent in relation to the matter was supportive of the prime minister.

And Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw – a former mining city – stated the remark was made “in jest” however admitted he wouldn’t have stated it himself.

“The remark has clearly been made in jest and was stated within the context of the transfer away from fossil fuels to renewable and clear types of power,” Mr Clarke-Smith informed Sky Information.

He added: “That stated, I would not have made the joke myself and I feel everyone knows that when an business closes down in a group it may possibly have a massively detrimental impact on the native financial system, which might take a technology to unravel. I’ve seen this with my very own eyes.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he meets members of the crew onboard the Esvagt Alba during a visit to the Moray Offshore Windfarm East off the Aberdeenshire coast, during his visit to Scotland, Britain, August 5, 2021. Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS
The PM’s official spokesperson informed reporters Mr Johnson recognises the ‘enormous influence and ache’ attributable to the closure of coal mines

“If we have been speaking about rushing up closures, then I might have really used Labour’s Harold Wilson for instance, who closed 290 pits, versus the 160 beneath Margaret Thatcher. Tony Blair additionally continued the development in the direction of closures.

“I do discover it outstanding that the identical folks criticise the prime minister for his feedback about pit closures, however then arise in parliament anticipating all people to chop out fossil fuels instantly and drive electrical automobiles. They can not have it each methods.”

Mr Clarke-Smith continued: “We’re pleased with our mining heritage in Bassetlaw and it’s one thing to be recognised. I’m presently preventing for miners to obtain a fairer deal from the Mineworkers Pension Scheme for instance. We at the moment are coming into a brand new age nonetheless and we should seize these new alternatives to construct again higher in Bassetlaw.”

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