Blair's Record Attacked by Porritt

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Merrick

The Government yesterday conceded it 'could do better' on the environment after Tony Blair's record was attacked by his own green adviser on the eve of the Johannesburg Earth Summit. Jonathon Porritt said the Prime Minister had failed to show leadership on the UK's key environmental issues like transport and waste management and his Government's green achievements were 'piecemeal'.

New Labour's 'naive adulation' of big business was at the expense of the voluntary and other sectors, the chairman of the Government's Sustainable Development Commission said. In remarks set to embarrass Mr Blair, who will address the summit later this week, Mr Porritt even appeared to question whether the Prime Minister knew exactly what sustainable development - the subject of the UN conference - meant.

Mr Porritt said he felt the Prime Minister had 'dumped' the issue of sustainable development into the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when it also embraced the economy, global relations, society and health.

He criticised the 'paralysis' and 'cowardice' in Government at failing to address the reform of institutions like the World Trade Organisation and the IMF and large multi-national companies.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said the criticisms made by Mr Porritt were 'not entirely fair'. She said: 'I don't accept that the Prime Minister isn't showing leadership on this issue, although I entirely agree with Jonathon Porritt that he has the capacity - and indeed I believe the will - to try to make a real impact at this summit on our future. …