The painful exchange occurred today on BBC 5 Live’s Emma Barnett Show. As an environmental spokesman, Mr Miliband proved woefully under-qualified when it came to Ms Barnett’s particular line of question. The radio veteran asked whether the Labour MP owned an electric car, to which he replied: “I’m not driving an electric vehicle.”
Ms Barnett asked bluntly, “why not?”
Grimacing, Mr Miliband replied: “Well, I should be…”
The BBC host snapped: “When are you going to get one.”
Laughing awkwardly, Mr Miliband replied: “As soon as possible!”
But Ms Barnett didn’t see the funny side, reading a listeners’ text that read: “It sounds like you’re jumping on the bandwagon.”
Mr Miliband blurted: “I’m not jumping on the bandwagon and I’m not presenting myself as a paragon of virtue.
“I try and do my best – I’m probably like most normal people.”
Ms Barnett shot back: “You should probably get an electric vehicle, shouldn’t you?”
Like a scolded schoolchild, Mr Miliband meekly replied: “Okay, I’ll have a word at home about it.”
Continuing her line of inquiry, Ms Barnett said: “You might need to do that. Have you got solar panels? Is that part of your energy?”
Here too, the environmental campaigner came unstuck, replying: “The house I live in doesn’t lend itself to solar panels.
“But you know – I’m trying to do my best.”
Earlier Mr Miliband told the BBC that the UK faced a “climate emergency” and called for a “revolution in political leadership” to tackle what he dubbed “climate appeasement”.
He is helping launch the new Environmental Justice Commission by the IPPR think tank, along with Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and former Conservative MP Laura Sandys.
The commission proposes to set out “an ambitious and rigorous programme of reform capable of tackling the dual problems of climate change and wider economic and social injustice”.
Seeking the views of people around the country on the way forward, it aims to focus on how the UK can deliver on pledges to limit global warming and cutting carbon emissions to net zero, looking at a Green New Deal to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs by focusing the entire economy on environmental change, the social injustices involved in climate change, and the UK’s international responsibilities in tackling the crisis.
Mr Miliband said: “We face a climate emergency. Climate change is the biggest threat to our economic and social well-being, and to our national security.
“Politics needs to be on a war footing to deal with this enemy but too often it sends the message that business as usual will do.
“We need a revolution in political leadership; the problem we face is not just climate denial but climate appeasement.