Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 13:36 UK

Minister censure motion defeated

Sammy Wilson
The minister says the ad is propaganda

A Stormont motion calling on the Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, to reverse his opposition to a climate change ad campaign has been defeated.

The motion was lost due to the Assembly's cross community voting rules.

Forty eight Assembly members backed the motion and only 30 voted against.

But while all nationalist and other MLAs backed the motion only 12 out of the 42 unionists who voted supported it.

Following the vote SDLP MLA Alban Maginness accused the DUP of abusing assembly procedure to suit their own political agenda.

"Today we saw the absurd situation of a motion on climate change being decided on a cross-community basis," he said.

"The issue of CO2 emissions and climate change is certainly a green issue but it is also one that impacts on all sections of our community."

Mr Wilson had claimed the government advertisements which urged people to reduce energy consumption and cut carbon dioxide output were part of an "insidious propaganda campaign".

He argued that they were "giving people the impression that by turning off the standby light on their TV they could save the world from melting glaciers and being submerged in 40ft of water".

He said that was "patent nonsense".

Mr Wilson wrote to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to say that the advertising campaign, Act on CO2, "was not welcome".

He explained that he did not believe in its message that "man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of climate change" and that the campaign was contrary to his personal views.

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