“The reality is the Liberal Democrats diverge radically from the Conservatives on environmental policy. The Conservatives wish to scrap the climate change levy but have offered no viable alternative. They are pro–Nuclear. The new Leader, David Cameron, used his acceptance speech to call for a major new road building programme. This suggests that Cameron remains wedded to the old-fashioned thinking that ignores the root of the problem… The Conservatives are the jonny-come-latelys to the green agenda. If the Tories are to make good on the green agenda they will have to shift radically – 180 degrees in some cases – because they are simply not credible on the environment. Take David Cameron’s speech on Friday. He made claims on the environment but carefully avoided any specifics. At the moment, without any substance to speak of, Cameron is merely relying on the spin that has blackened Tony Blair’s reputation. And let no-one be in any doubt – the Liberal Democrats are not about to cede our emphatic, sincere and longstanding green credentials for some spray on aerosol version.”
Despite co-operation between the LibDems and Conservatives on Kyoto, Mr Kennedy made it clear that differences on nuclear power were the real dividing line between the LibDems and the Conservatives (and Labour) on nuclear energy:
“Nuclear power has proven itself to be grossly expensive, environmentally disastrous and an unacceptable drain on the public purse. British taxpayers are currently facing a £56bn bill just to clear up the nuclear waste we already have – equivalent to bill of over £800 for every person in the UK.”
A poll last week put Mr Kennedy on just 11% as the public’s favoured choice for PM. The weekend’s newspapers carried more allegations about Charles Kennedy’s drinking habits but he insisted that he was an "extremely moderate and infrequent consumer of alcohol" during an interview on ITV1’s Dimbleby Programme.