Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

'No confidence' in Wilson: MLAs

Sammy Wilson called a climate change awareness campaign 'propaganda'
Sammy Wilson called a climate change awareness campaign 'propaganda'

A vote of no confidence in Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has been passed by Stormont's environment committee.

It follows Mr Wilson's decision to block a government advertisement campaign on climate change.

Mr Wilson, who does not believe that climate change is man-made, said the advertisement was part of an "insidious propaganda campaign".

Some members of the committee said Mr Wilson's views were not consistent with that of the Executive.

The motion was passed by six votes to four, with one abstention.

The SDLP's Tommy Gallagher, who proposed the motion, said there was "concern" at Mr Wilson's comments.

"The view is that the minister's remarks are seen as outrageous and his approach a very small-minded one," said Mr Gallagher.

"I feel we need to be seen to be taking environment issues much more seriously than the minister appears to be taking them."

However, Mr Wilson's DUP party colleague, Peter Weir, said committee members were playing "silly games".

"They're accusing the minister of doing things as a point scoring exercise from a publicity point of view, and that's clearly what the intention behind this is," he said.

"It is an attempt to grab the headlines, to stick the boot in rather than engaging in serious debate."

The committee agreed to write to the Office of First and Deputy First Minister to seek clarification on the Executive's climate change policy.

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