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Cabinet clashes over importing hybrid cars for ministers

A Cabinet row ensued yesterday over proposals to replace British-built ministerial cars with hybrid-powered Toyota Prius imported from Japan.

John Hutton, the business secretary, criticised the plan, saying that it would send out the wrong message to domestic manufacturers. He has a Jaguar.

By this summer, all cars used by ministers and senior civil servants will have CO2 emissions below 130g/km. Transport secretary Ruth Kelly suggested the government could push for a target of 120g/km. British-built cars which would qualify include the Mini Cooper D and Mini Clubman Cooper D or a Nissan Micra 1.5dCi.

Although the policy does not specify the use of Toyota Prius, the Japanese-made hybrid is already in use across Whitehall.

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