IN HIS first session as PM in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson made two notable statements yesterday. First, he declared that the Conservative Party is the party of democracy, and that as such it will defend the result of the referendum. Second, he reaffirmed his commitment to the Net Zero 2050 target – the policy that Theresa May had stolen from his leadership campaign to secure her own ‘legacy’. Only one of those statements can be correct.

Many believe that the Net Zero 2050 (NZ2050) target lacks a democratic mandate. It is a fact that the green sympathies of the British people, and their willingness to take the burden that NZ2050 will impose on them – likely trillions of pounds – have not been tested. The cross-party consensus on climate change in Westminster has been formed by the work of an army of green blob lobbyists behind closed doors, not by transparent, open and public debate.

Many are also of the view that NZ2050 will require a dramatic transformation and undermining of our ways of life. Over the next 30 years, it will create burdens greater than anything the EU ever managed to impose on the population of Europe. Moreover, ‘leading the world in setting a net zero target’ seems to be intended to create a more massive, inflexible global bureaucracy than anything any European federalist ever imagined. What is the point of leaving the EU only to foist on Britain and the world another monolith that denies nation states democratic self-determination?

You may disagree with the many who have yet to make known their views on NZ2050 – they have not yet been given the opportunity. But they surely exist, and the way to resolve that disagreement is to test Westminster’s NZ2050 ambitions to see if they really have the support that such far-reaching legislation surely requires. If that mandate cannot be found, and if us ‘naysayers’ are right, there is no difference between the roads back to the Dark Ages that all Westminster parties seem determined to take us down.

Can Boris make the Conservative Party distinct from the Labour Party? For that matter, can Boris make himself distinct from Caroline Lucas? If he’s not willing to ask the public for their views on NZ2050, nobody can say that he’s any different.

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