GRANT Shapps’s Sunday morning interview with the BBC has been labelled a “car crash” as he was grilled on a range of topics and defended the PM’s net zero U-turn.
Standing in for Laura Kuenssberg, Victoria Derbyshire quizzed the Defence Secretary on a range of topics from HS2 to climate commitments.
When asked about HS2, a planned high-speed rail line from London, Shapps said it was a “while since he had been transport secretary” and that he was on the show to “talk about defence” – but that he would still cover the topic.
Shapps held the role of transport secretary from July 2019 until September 2022 and added that it was important to weigh up if HS2 was still viable.
Net zero clash
The conversation then turned to Rishi Sunak’s net zero U-turns which were announced earlier this week, including a five-year delay to the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
The move was met with fury from climate campaigners but did draw some praise from Donald Trump.
Derbyshire asked Shapps (below) if he backed the delay to the ban of new petrol and diesel cars.
He replied: “Entirely. But I want to correct something that has got out there. We have already exceeded all of our carbon budgets.
“We have the leading position in the G7 in terms of the amount of carbon that we’ve reduced and that so-called ‘pushback’ to 2035 was always the end date for the sale of petrol and diesel cars.
“What’s been missed in this discussion is that what’s been moved is the cut off in 2030 where all cars would have to be hybrid to be sold but they were always allowed to be sold petrol and diesel if they were hybrid through to 2035.”
There was then some back and forth between the pair as Derbyshire pushed Shapps on comments he made earlier this year in which he said: “We have set our path which is 2030 will see the end of new petrol and diesel.”
Shapps replied: “Of pure petrol and diesel by 2030. That was always the policy. 2035 has always been the final phase out.”
Derbyshire then said she thought Shapps was wrong and that 2030 was when the complete ban on new petrol and diesel was coming in which the Defence Secretary said was “incorrect”.
He continued: “2030 was the date at which you would have to sell a hybrid car but it could still have petrol and diesel combustion engine. 2035 is the date where that would end entirely.”
Derbyshire than asked Shapps to explain as it sounded like “nothing had changed”.
He said: “What’s changed is the sequencing. So in 2030 you can still sell a non-hybrid car under the current plans – that’s the change.”
Many Twitter/X users took to social media to react to Shapps’s interview with one labelling it a “car crash”.
Another pointed out how Shapps should have been able to talk about transport as he must be in Cabinet meetings even “when they’re not talking about defence”.
“Grant Shapps didn’t get away with it this morning”, said a third while a fourth added that he should be able to answer “simple questions”.
Another said that his morning media round had been “painful to watch”.