The Conservative Party has distanced itself from comments by a Birmingham Tory councillor on global warming and sustainability.
Councillor Len Clark (Quinton) recently spoke out against a hard-hitting scrutiny report presented by Labour councillor Steve Bedser. The report criticised Birmingham City Council's approach to sustainability as under-resourced, poorly led and lagging behind other local authorities.
Coun Clark described the report as defining virtuous behaviour which was "going down the politically correct route of the usual left-wing Liberal-Labour mob which usually ends up with the Government whacking us over the head with taxes".
But a spokesman from Conservative Party headquarters, which has promoted the fight against climate change as a key policy, said Coun Clark's comments did not represent those of the party.
He said: "These views are the views of an individual and not those of the party. They are not consistent with what we think and we would distance ourselves from them.
"We put climate change and the environment at the top of our agenda and see it as critical. We believe that David Cameron has led the debate and the Government on this issue."
Coun Clark said he was unconcerned by the party's statement and pointed out that Conservative Party members had wide-ranging views on climate change and were not all in agreement with David Cameron's policy.
He said: "There is nothing wrong with the Conservatives wanting to act on climate change, but people in the party are allowed to have different opinions.
"Perhaps I am in the minority but I have got as much right to state my views as anybody."
Coun Clark said his critical response to Coun Bedser's report referred to global warming, which he thought was a "vague theory", rather than sustainability.
He said: "I don't have a problem with the concept of sustainability. There is nothing new about sustainability.
"My issue is when the theory is advanced on the argument of global warming.
"There are now stories on global warming on the television every day. Much of it is no more than hysterical propaganda, generated particularly by the left."
Coun Clark said global warming was simply an excuse for Government to raise taxes.
He said: "What is a better way to raise taxes than global warming? People don't feel they can argue against it.
"If people can't wake up to this, then it is their pockets that the Government will be picking."
Coun Clark said he believed there needed to be more evidence that global warming existed.
"I think the theory needs to be properly tested and examined internationally. It is only Britain and Europe that seem to believe that this is a problem – the US and India do not."
He added that did not support the scrutiny report because he believed it would be dictating how people should behave.
He said: "Coun Bedser said he was defining virtuous behaviour. I would not expect him to dictate to me what defines virtuous behaviour, just as I would not expect to dictate virtuous behaviour to him.
"Defining behaviour is going down the route of a Nazi state. Under this Government we have got freedom of speech, but only as long as you are not actually saying anything."