Energy Bill: a disappointing result

Down, but not out. We fought a good fight – but on Tuesday, we lost the vote for a clean energy target. It was painfully close. If just 12 MPs had voted differently, we would have won. On the day, it felt too close to call. A last-minute flood of MPs came out in support. But ultimately, we just didn’t have enough votes.

It’s sad when we lose, especially when it’s on something as important as protecting our planet. But we fought valiantly and gave it our all, and today we can be proud as well as disappointed. A year ago, the prospect of so many MPs voting for a clean energy target was inconceivable. Our work, alongside our friends at Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, changed that.

Together we sent tens of thousands of emails, phone calls and tweets to our MPs. We also ramped up the pressure targeting wavering MPs with adverts in local newspapers, leaflets and meetings. It’s thanks to all we did together that so many MPs switched their votes, and turned out on Tuesday in support.

Undeniably, this is not where we wanted to be today. But there’s still hope that we’ll secure the target we need. The Energy Bill will now go to the House of Lords to be debated again. They have the power to include a clean energy target. They are much more likely to do so because it was such a close vote in the House of Commons.

Here’s a breakdown of how MPs voted:

Three MPs in particular deserve closer attention. Where were George Birtwhistle and Charles Kennedy on Tuesday? And why did Andrew Stunell not turn up, despite adding his name to the clean energy target before the vote?

Here’s Gordon Birtwhistle MP on Twitter, on the morning of the vote:

So far, so good. But on the evening of the vote:

Charles Kennedy MP is another. Here’s his tweet on the morning of the vote, but when it came to it, he wasn’t in the House of Commons to vote:

And finally, Andrew Stunell MP. He added his name to the amendments which would have ensured a clean energy target in advance of the vote, but on the day, he didn’t turn up either:

If any of these three are your MP, and you’d like to ask them what happened, you can write to them here:

Gordon Birtwhistle

Charles Kennedy

Andrew Stunell

On the other hand, lots of MPs did do the right thing. It’s said ‘thank you’ is the least-used word in politics, so let’s change that. If your MP voted in favour of a clean energy target (you can check here) , you can thank them in less than two minutes.

That’s all for now. We’ll keep going – but today, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what we accomplished. We put climate change on the political map, and inspired one of the biggest MP rebellions of this parliament. And if we keep working together, we’ll get our chance to turn this decision around.