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David Cameron Postpones Coalition Negotiations Over Energy Bill

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Roland Watson and Michael Savage, The Times

David Cameron has postponed key coalition talks over energy policy due for today. He was scheduled to meet Nick Clegg and senior ministers to try to hammer out the details of the forthcoming Energy Bill. The postponement leaves a question mark over when the Government will be able to publish contentious Energy Bill.

The energy minister sacked by David Cameron led a Conservative fightback over renewables last night after his successor declared a unilateral end to onshore wind farms.

Charles Hendry warned that Britain risked losing investment in green technologies if the Government sent mixed messages over its commitment to renewables.

Mr Hendry said that Britain could not have energy security without renewables and it was vital that ministers maintained “constructive engagement” with the industry.

The Times understands that about 20 Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister urging him to stop ministers sending different signals to the City.

Mr Hendry’s intervention came after his successor, John Hayes, split the coalition over energy policy by declaring that “enough is enough” when it came to onshore wind farms.

His comments angered his Liberal Democrat boss, Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, and forced the Prime Minister to insist that the door was not closed to future wind farms, although he said there would have to be a national debate on the issue.

Mr Davey had forced Mr Hayes to remove the quotes on wind farms from a speech on Tuesday, including the claim that turbines had been “peppered around the country”. But Mr Hayes had already briefed them to the Daily Mail.

The Times also understands that Mr Cameron has postponed key coalition talks over energy policy due for today. He was scheduled to meet Nick Clegg and senior ministers to try to hammer out the details of the forthcoming energy Bill, but the discussion has been put back to next week.

Downing Street insisted that the delay was due not to yesterday’s rift but to accommodate a discussion by the so-called Quad of ministers — the Prime Minister, his Deputy, George Osborne and Danny Alexander — due yesterday that had not taken place. The postponement left a question mark over when the Government would be able to publish a Bill.

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