JEREMY CORBYN and Ed Miliband will appear together at a political event for the first time since the handover of the Labour leadership to campaign on Britain’s membership of the European Union today.
The pair will claim a vote to leave the EU on June 23 would put efforts to tackle climate change at risk.
Mr Miliband did not seek a position in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet but has also been careful not to publicly criticise his successor following his own experiences while leader of coming under fire from Labour colleagues.
The two will visit a solar farm in North Lincolnshire and are also expected to campaign together at another event in South Yorkshire today.
Mr Corbyn said: “Climate change is one of the greatest fights of our generation, and at a time when the Government has scrapped funding for green projects, it is vital that we remain in the EU so we can keep accessing valuable funding streams to protect our environment.
“Leaving the EU would mean the green spaces, clean beaches and fresh air we want to leave for our children could be at risk. It would risk investment in new green technologies and the jobs that accompany them, and would leave us open to the Tory agenda which has been so damaging to our environment.
“Pollution and climate change don’t respect national borders so we can’t hope to deal with these issues if we withdraw into our shell. We must vote to remain on the 23rd and continue to work with our European neighbours to stop climate change and protect our environment.”
Climate change is an issue around which the two men can unite with Mr Miliband, the Doncaster North MP, a longstanding campaigner on the issue and a former energy and climate change secretary in the Gordon Brown government.
Mr Miliband said: “The challenge of tackling climate change is a moral responsibility, an economic necessity and the single most important thing we can do for our children and our grandchildren and leaving the EU would rob us of the ability to overcome that challenge.
“Membership of the EU has not only raised the UK’s environmental standards, but, especially as I know personally from my time as Climate Change Secretary, enabled Britain to drive progress across all member states.
“Every major climate change agreement has involved EU leadership.
“So when it comes to climate change Britain stands taller and is stronger inside the EU.
“That is why people who care about this generational challenge should vote to Remain on June 23.”
Labour is likely to stress the ability of Mr Miliband and Mr Corbyn to campaign together for a Remain vote stands in sharp contrast to the divides among the Conservatives over the issue of Europe.
Despite lining up on the same side of the referendum debate as David Cameron, Labour has taken every opportunity to point out the problems the issue has caused in the Prime Minister’s party.
Mr Corbyn and Mr Miliband will argue the EU provides valuable cash to develop technology such as the £230m originally promised to support the White Rose Carbon Capture and Storage Project in Yorkshire, although it subsequently collapsed.
They will also point to National Grid research suggesting doubling connections with European neighbours could save a £1bn a year in energy costs by 2020.
Their message is in stark contrast to the argument put forward by Energy Minister and Vote Leave campaigner Andrea Leadsom earlier this month.
She described the UK as “world leaders” in developing low carbon technology and said targets to cut emissions were enshrined in British law.
“Put simply, the lights will not go out, bills will not go up, and decarbonisation will not stall as a result of leaving the EU”, she said and suggested EU rules could hamper UK energy security.