Christopher Chope

Christopher Chope 

Background

Christopher Chope is a barrister and has served as the MP for Christchurch in Dorset since 1997. He was the MP for Southampton between 1983 and 1992.

Chope is a libertarian on the right of the Conservative Party and a hardline Brexiteer.

He has repeatedly voted against measures to tackle climate change, including in 2008 when he was one of five MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act.

He also supported culling badgers, selling England’s forests and abolishing the minimum wage  and voted against legislation for human rights, equal pay, safeguarding wild animals in circuses and same-sex marriage. 

He has served as the shadow minister for the environment from 1997 to 1998 and the shadow spokesperson for the environment, food and rural affairs between 2003 and 2005.

Chope served as the chairman of the Thatcherite pressure group Conservative Way Forward and remains an honorary vice president of the group today.

He campaigned to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum and voted against efforts to guarantee the right to remain of EU nationals already in the country before the Brexit vote.

Stance on Climate Change

Chope has been involved in campaign groups opposing the UK’s emission reduction targets saying such measures would have an adverse impact on the economy and lead to high energy prices.

He also argued that there is no point for the UK to decarbonise its economy because the country’s emissions amount to a small percentage of the world’s global emissions and that other countries will continue to emit greenhouse gases.

Key Quotes

During the debate on the Climate Change Act in October 2008, Chope told the House of Commons:  

The issue that we are discussing needs to be put into context. A paper that PricewaterhouseCoopers produced, entitled “The world in 2050”, projects that the United Kingdom will produce only 1.2 per cent. of global emissions in 2050—without the increased targets in the Bill and without including emissions from shipping and aviation. We must take that into consideration. Even if we eliminated that 1.2 per cent., would it make any difference to the world? I do not think that it would—indeed, the burdens on our economy would be even more enormous than they are already likely to be, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) explained so well.

When the history books are written in 2050, people will ask why only five people voted against Second Reading of a ludicrous measure.

The TaxPayers Alliance produced an important research note, which shows that, if we achieved an 80 per cent. reduction in emissions, UK gross domestic product in 2050 would have to be 3.8 per cent. lower than it was in 1990. We know of the public dismay and, indeed, even the Prime Minister’s concern, about the fact that we have now entered the first quarter of negative growth since 2007. What would 3.8 per cent. negative growth in 2050 compared with 1990 mean for the people of this country? It would be a disaster on a massive scale and unacceptable to the people. Not enough has been done to spell out the implications of the Bill.”

How do the Government propose to reduce emissions from aviation and shipping without damaging global trade? […]I am worried that an agenda for imposing volume reductions in aviation and shipping underlies the Bill and the amendments. Imposing such volume reductions would be damaging to global trade. We are a global trading nation and it would therefore be highly damaging to the United Kingdom plc.”

Key Deeds

July 2018

Chope objected to a private member’s bill which would have made upskirting a criminal offence in England and Wales. He later said he supported the bill but had objected to parliamentary procedure rather than the law itself. He added he was not “a dinosaur” and had been “scapegoated”.  

May 2016

Chope was one of 15 MPs to sign a letter asking then secretary for energy and climate change Amber Rudd not to accept the Committee on Climate Change's recommendations around the UK’s fifth carbon budget.

October 2014

In a statement, Chope along with the four other MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act in 2008, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie and Ann Widdecombe, called for the Act to be revoked.

They wrote: “The UK accounts for less than two percent of global emissions. It is time to bring to an end the pointless damage being inflicted on British households, British industry and the British economy by the unilateral commitment to unnecessarily expensive energy, and to suspend the Climate Change Act’s unilateral targets until such time as a binding global agreement has been secured.”

April 2014

Chope took part in a debate organised by the Bruges Group, a Eurosceptic think tank, with the title “How the EU’s Climate Alarmism is Costing You Money”.

During the debate, he said we was part of a “small band in tune with public opinion on these [climate change policy] issues”.

The government and climate scientists use words in a very careful way that is contrary to the truth,” he said.  

October 2010

Chope joined a campaign group opposing the Climate Change Act, which included prominent UK climate deniers Sammy Wilson, Christopher Booker and Piers Corbyn and was backed by Graham Stringer MP.

The campaign was launched during an event in Parliament called “Climate Fool’s Day” and was organised by Climate Sense, a loose affiliation of climate denial groups.

An invitation for the event on Piers Corbyn’s site Climate Realists called for “evidence-based science and policy - not the carbon con!”, adding: “The danger is not Climate Change but Climate Change Policy – for which there is no evidence in justification.”

October 2008

Chope was of five MPs to vote against the Climate Change Act, calling efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission reductions “a ludicrous measure”.  

Image Credit: Chris MacAndrew/Parliament/Creative Commons/CC BY 3.0