You’ll Never Guess How This UKIP Candidate Came to Believe Climate Change Is A Hoax...

Read time: 4 mins

Scientists have spent years in Antarctica drilling ice cores to measure the levels of carbon dioxide in the air over millennia. 

They have travelled to northern Siberia to count tree rings as a proxy measure of historic temperatures. 

They have devised some of the most complex computer models in existence to see how rising emissions will impact different regions of the planet.

But John Stocker, the UKIP candidate standing against the well-known climate denier Peter Lilley, has used a sophisticated and novel method to prove that the scientists are all wrong. 

That’s right, he Googled it.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, has avoided a row about climate change within the party by claiming to be completely ignorant. “Do I believe in global warming? I have no idea,” he said in an interview with the libertarian magazine Spiked.

Stocker told DeSmog UK: “I am a sceptic on climate change and believe that any effects have been over exaggerated.”

'Multitudes of Science'

When asked where he gleaned his information from about the single most important issue facing humanity, he replied: “If you Google ‘climate change’ you will find multitudes of scientific arguments for and against climate change. Take your pick.”

Stocker is standing against Lilley in Hitchin and Harpenden at the May general election. But he is in complete agreement with the Tory on the issue of climate change and has voted for him in the past. 

Indeed, he is still holding out hope that Lilley will leave his party and move over to UKIP.

Lilley, on the other hand, has been accused of having a conflict of interests. He sits on the House of Commons' Climate Change Committee and attacks measures to reduce carbon emissions. 

He has also been paid by, and held shares in, an oil company: Tethys Petroleum. When we asked Lilley if his climate denial was closer to the UKIP line than David Cameron's he said our questions “are too trivial to merit a response.” 

Well Financed

Stocker is hoping to ride the wave of UKIP support across the country and increase the party’s vote from 1,633 to beat Lilley who holds 54.6 percent with 29,869 votes. 

Lilley is said locally to be so confident of winning the seat he has held since 1997 that he has told canvassers to support other MPs in the region.

But Stocker, a successful businessman, is running a well-financed campaign and hoping to seed doubts about Lilley by claiming the Tory grandee has not been fighting hard enough for his constituents.

Peter Lilley appears to have lost the plot with no evidence at all of a campaign plan. His majority will disappear,” Stocker said. 

And then there is me! With undoubtedly a large populist support offering what the electorate want. Charming, eloquent and a campaign budget to be envied.”

Immigration Failings

The UKIP candidate is also hoping to outflank Lilley to the right by having a more aggressive stance on immigration and Europe. He said: “I’ve known Peter Lilley for a long time and voted for him when he was my MP in St Albans.

I am not standing against him as an individual but against the party he represents that is failing to control Europe and immigration and is failing to give the British people the referendum they deserve.”

Lilley was reportedly at the centre of a huge row between Cameron and the Conservative leadership, and members worried about the gains being made by UKIP on the issue of immigration.

The one-time secretary of state was quoted as saying: “Most people believe Britain is full – and they are right. We are already a nation of more than 60 million. We cannot take any more and have to shut the door.”

Defecting Tories

Lilley has also attended the Eurosceptic Bruges Group alongside Mark Reckless, who caused controversy last September by defecting from the Tories to UKIP just as Cameron was opening his party conference and beginning the election campaign. And yet he is still not Eurosceptic enough for Stocker. Any complacency in the Lilley camp could be misplaced. 

Rachel Burgin, the Labour candidate, has emerged as the only credible opponent to the left of Lilley. The Liberal Democrats have selected Pauline Pearce – who became an internet sensation after being filmed remonstrating rioters – as their candidate, despite the fact she has been convicted of smuggling cocaine

Stocker responded by saying that the “Lib Dems have totally destroyed their chances with a suicidal choice of a maverick candidate who just will not relate to the Hitchin and Harpenden Lib Dem cocktail circle.”

Lilley did not respond to an email asking for comment.


Picture: (c) John Stocker

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