Michael Gove is unfit to serve as environment secretary, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said today.
Theresa May’s shock decision to bring the Surrey MP, who she sacked last year, back into the cabinet has been greeted with trepidation by environmental campaigners and political rivals.
Caroline Lucas, Greens co-leader and the party’s only MP, said she could not think of someone ‘as ill-equipped for the role’.
“His record of voting against measures to halt climate change and his attempt to wipe the subject from our children’s curriculum show him entirely unfit to lead our country in tackling one of the greatest threats we face,” she said.
“And as we enter Brexit negotiations, Gove’s past suggestion we scrap vital EU environmental protections becomes ever more concerning.
“This appointment is further evidence of both Theresa May’s complete disregard for the environment and her desperation to hold together a government in chaos.”
The appointment was one of the most surprising in the PM’s reshuffle, which got underway on Sunday and was cited as evidence of her weakened position.
Environmental campaigners were also sceptical about the former education and justice secretary’s new role and questioned his ability to step up to the plate.
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “Michael Gove is about to find an in-tray loaded with urgent problems, from tackling the air pollution crisis to protecting our oceans from overfishing and plastic waste. He should waste no time to prove that he’s better than his record suggests.
“He once described himself as a ‘shy green’, and that shyness was fully on display when he tried to remove climate change from the school curriculum, called for the Habitat Directive to be scrapped, and voted to sell off our forests.”
Gove has previously spoken of his love of the great Scottish outdoors and preserving areas of natural beauty for the next generation was a key environmental pledge in the Conservative manifesto.
Mr Sauven added: “To fulfill this pledge, Gove will need to abandon the notion that environmental laws are just a hindrance to house builders and realise that without them we won’t be leaving a greener, healthier Britain to our children.”