You might have seen something on social media about today’s (25.04.23) vote on sewage, so in case you were wondering, here’s a quick explainer on what it’s all about.
In short, we voted today in favour of legislation to force water companies to clean up their act & protect our waterways – which Labour and the Liberal Democrats failed to do.
Here’s what happened:
Labour tabled something called an “opposition motion” today. This is just a talking shop – it doesn’t and can’t actually create any law.
It had two parts:
Firstly, it called for “the Government to set a target for the reduction of sewage discharges and to provide for financial penalties in relation to sewage discharges and breaches of monitoring requirements; and to carry out an impact assessment of sewage discharges.”
There’s no problem with any of that – all of it is something this Government has taken action to address. It basically just reinstated Conservative Government policy – calling for us to do what we are already doing.
The political game-playing came in the second bit after that. The rest of the motion tabled by Labour was a political stunt. If voted for, it would have allowed them to “take control of the order paper” (basically, to become the Government for a day....) to pass legislation on water quality and pollution that we already have.
Obviously, there’s no point in doing that – we already have that legislation – it's just a way of trying to make Conservative MPs vote against something ridiculous simply in order to say “Tory MPs voted to dump sewage....” (sound familiar?) which simply wouldn’t have been true.
In contrast, the Government has responded positively to today’s attack by voting for tougher legislation on water companies to clean up their act.
This Conservative Government has a track record of voting for a serious, sensible and deliverable plan to tackle this issue. It is in fact the first government to tackle this, whilst the other parties, as we have seen so clearly today, are only interested in misleading the public, making wildly inaccurate claims, and playing politics – anything to avoid the much harder task of actually coming up with a workable plan.