‘Anti-green’ award winner dumped as shadow environment minister

John Redwood has been stripped of his post as Shadow Environment Minister only a week after being deemed the politician who inflicted "the most damage to the environmental cause over the last parliamentary year".

Green Futures magazine gave Redwood, Conservative MP for Wokingham, its Grey Ribbon for 1999 last week and lo and behold Party Leader William Hague has returned him to the backbenches. “I would absolutely love to claim credit for it,” Green Futures’ editor Martin Wright told edie, “but I don’t think it entered Hague’s head.”

The annual awards – with the exception of the single Grey Ribbon – are, in fact, a way of congratulating “politicians who are swimming against the tide” and contributing to a slow, but steady, body of environmental legislation (see related story).

In singling out Redwood for the sole negative award, Green Futures sought to remind people that Redwood could have used his position to question the Government’s policies in a constructive manner. Wright believes that the Labour Government would benefit from sincere and robust opposition to some of its environmental policy making. In particular, Wright points to Redwood’s decision last year to break the cross-party consensus on integrated transport as an extremely damaging move. “He sacrificed intelligent opposition for crass political opportunism,” says Wright.

With Redwood out of the Conservatives’ environmental driving seat, eyes have turned to his replacement Archie Norman. Many believe that the ASDA former chairman will fail to offer much improvement. Wright agrees that some of Norman’s former business practices – the dependence on out-of-town superstores is the obvious example – mark him out as less-than-green. “But let’s give the guy a chance,” says Wright.

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