Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Thursday, 27 May 2010 17:38 UK

Queen's Speech: Government aims to be 'greenest ever'

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has set himself the objective of making the new government "the greenest ever" as he faced Labour taunts over its commitment to nuclear power.

In renewed debate on the Queen's Speech on 27 May 2010, Mr Huhne said action by the coalition government would define the nation's ability to combat climate change for decades to come.

It was a "scandal" that such a small percentage of power is generated from renewable sources and there must be a "step change" in energy efficiency improvements to homes, he added.

But Mr Huhne came under pressure from Labour MPs aiming to exploit differences between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats over new nuclear power stations .

Former energy minister Malcolm Wicks demanded: "When you look at that transition to a low carbon economy, are you factoring new nuclear in or out?

"And do you recognise that to drive forward new nuclear, the secretary of state has to play a very decisive, hands-on role?"

Mr Huhne, a previous critic of nuclear power, said there was a clear framework for new nuclear in the coalition agreement.

He said this envisaged "a role for new nuclear providing there is no public subsidy".

Labour former cabinet minister David Blunkett called for a reassurance that the "personal opposition" of Mr Huhne and Business Secretary Vince Cable would not get in the way of deals to forge nuclear components in Sheffield.

Mr Huhne said the government is looking at all contracts signed off since the beginning of the year and this would be completed in due course.

You can catch the second part of the debate here.


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