Conservative MP Steve Baker, a vocal opponent of the Government’s climate change targets, partied the night away at the Conservative summer party this year thanks to the generosity of a businessman in the aviation industry.
Mr Baker – who ran Attorney General Suella Braverman’s anti-net-zero bid to be prime minister in the party’s leadership contest – attended the ball at London’s V&A Museum in June.
His £2,000 ticket was paid for by Christopher Harborne, the owner of AML Global, according to the latest register of MPs’ interests.
AML Global sells aviation fuel, with a distribution network that includes “main and regional oil companies”. Harborne is also chief executive of Sheriff Global Group, which reportedly trades private jets, according to PoliticsHome.
Aviation emissions accounted for seven per cent of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.
As deputy chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Goup of MPs, Mr Baker is leading efforts to force the Government to abandon its climate agenda.
The financial link between Mr Harborne and Mr Baker, uncovered by investigative journalism website DeSmog, has raised fresh concerns about the influence of fossil fuel interests on Britain’s politicians.
“It’s unsurprising that the MP trying the hardest to put the brakes on climate action accepts gifts from those profiting from fuelling the extreme heat the UK just experienced,” Alethea Warrington, campaigns manager at climate charity Possible, told i.
“What remains surprising is that any MP indebted to the fossil fuels industry can remain in a position to influence the UK’s vital climate policies. At an absolute minimum, all MPs must stop taking dirty money from oil and gas companies, and support real action now to protect people from the escalating climate crisis.”
Mr Baker and Mr Harborne were both approached by i and DeSmog for comment.
As part of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, Mr Baker has spent months lobbying Conservative MPs to turn against the Government’s legally binding target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Mr Baker is also trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a secretive climate-sceptic think tank. Its campaign arm, Net Zero Watch, opposes action to reduce emissions. It has never formally revealed its funders.
Thailand-based Mr Harborne, meanwhile, has donated millions of pounds to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. Earlier this year Mr Farage established the Vote Power Not Poverty campaign, which is lobbying for a referendum on the UK’s net-zero target.
Mr Baker is not the first MP to raise eyebrows with the source of their donations. Last week, DeSmog reported that Conservative leadership contender Kemi Badenoch received a ticket for a Conservative fundraiser in 2019 from Australian hedge fund manager Michael Hintze, a funder of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
During her campaign Mrs Badenoch suggested the UK’s net-zero target should be pushed back to 2070.
Meanwhile, Penny Mordaunt’s leadership campaign received £20,000 from a consultancy firm run by the Terence Mordaunt (no relation), former chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
A spokesperson for her campaign said Terence Mordaunt’s views “are not shared by Penny”.
This content was originally published here.