Lobby briefing: Colin Challen, Labour MP for Morley & Rothwell

Challen tells Third Sector about becoming a full-time environmental campaigner

Why are you standing down as an MP to become a full-time environmental campaigner?

I am chairman of the all-party group on climate change, and it's an issue I am very concerned about. Being an MP is helpful because it opens doors, but I have become so involved in pushing for action on climate change that I'm worried I'll neglect my constituents. I can't divulge where I will be going, but I can say that I want to work 100 per cent on this issue.

What will your priorities be?

We need to reach a political consensus on climate change, so I'll be promoting the idea of a formal agreement on which individual parties would not be able to renege for short-term political gain.

The parties have come together before for the good of the country - during the Second World War and to promote the EU, to give two examples. If this isn't significant enough for a consensus, I don't know what is.

And what will you do until the General Election?

The Stern Report into climate change, compiled for the Treasury, has opened up a big debate, but it has left a number of questions unanswered. Over the next 12 months I want the all-party group to try to pin down what level of carbon gases would be safe - there's still some uncertainty about this.

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