Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey have welcomed the decision by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to delay the abolition of sales of new fossil fuel-propelled vehicles, welcoming the move as pragmatic.

Speaking on the Go Radio Business Show, Sir Tom commented: “I’ll just say that I admire some qualities of ‘Dishy Rishi’ and I think he’s certainly being practical.

“I think he’s saying, yes, net zero by 2050, we all still want to do it, but as the facts change, we need to look and see if our policies, which were written some time ago, are still relevant to get us there.

“He is coming out and saying that we cannot get to net zero and bankrupt the British people, which is quite a clever line. So I kind of take it at face value and say, okay, I understand.”

Lord Willie Haughey, however, did question the PM making his announcement without first having had official conversations with car manufacturers in the UK.

“It was a week after BMW announced they were going to spend a fortune building the electric Minis in the UK,” he pointed out.

“I know Ford and some people had things to say about it, but I think the big manufacturers had a kind of sigh of relief and were quite happy with this news.

“Well, I’ve not seen them all over the papers the next day, all of them jumping up and down. But what’s particularly interesting following on from that announcement is that China – and we talk about moving away from gas because we don’t want to be dependent on Russia and we don't want to get caught up in the politics of war in relation to our utilities.

“If we go forward with the whole electric car thing, China and only China will be responsible for producing 70% of all the batteries in the world for electric cars.”