British PM Wins Pyrrhic Victory on Fracking

Essay by Eric Worrall

Prime Minister Truss defeated an attempt to ban fracking – barely. But the long winded consultation process tacked on by her rebellious MPs will likely prevent any genuine progress for the foreseeable future.

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Cecilia Keating and James Murray

clockclockclock19 October 2022

The government has narrowly defeated a Labour motion to force a vote on banning fracking in the UK, after making major consessions to rebel MPs’ demands for a more rigorous consenting process for new projects and announcing a “100 per cent hard” three-line whip.

The rebellion gained momentum late this afternoon when former energy minister Chris Skidmore, a staunch defender of the UK’s climate ambitions who has been tasked by the Prime Minister with delivering a review of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy, confirmed on Twitter he would not vote to enable fracking and was prepared to lose the whip if necessary.

“As the former Energy Minister who signed net zero into law, for the sake of our environment and climate, I cannot personally vote tonight to support fracking and undermine the pledges I made at the 2019 General Election,” he said. “I am prepared to face the consequences of my decision.”

In a last ditch bid to shrink the size of the rebellion, Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg this afternoon proposed an amendment that would require a public consultation on how communities would be able to approve or reject fracking projects in their area through local referendums managed by local authorities.

Campaigners hailed the vote as a major victory that has effectively delivered a death knell to any hopes of reviving fracking projects in England in the near term. The practice’s long-standing unpopularity will mean projects put through a robust consenting process will struggle to secure public consent. And with a general election due by the end of 2023 at the latest and the Conservatives plumbing new depths in the polls, investors will be reluctant to back projects that would be immediately banned were Labour to win the next election.

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What a mess. British Prime Minister Liz Truss – barely – defeated a motion to permanently ban fracking, but the rebellion has exposed her insecure grip on leadership. The lengthy consultation process tacked on by rebels in her own party has effectively sabotaged Truss’ energy reform plans, by ensuring abundant opportunities for wreckers to ensure no fracking projects actually proceed.

British politician Nigel Farage predicted Liz Truss would fail to sort out Britain’s energy crisis, when I asked him at CPAC Australia a few weeks ago – he said there were too many vested interests who were arrayed against her. Maybe we’re now seeing those “vested interests” show their hand.

I don’t think this will end well for the “vested interests”, if that’s what they are – I don’t believe the Tory rebels and Labour greens have fully appreciated how desperate people could become. Well paid British MPs usually don’t have a problem sorting out their energy bills.

I remember a speech British politician Nigel Farage gave over a decade ago, in which he talked about what would happen if he failed to deliver Brexit. From memory he said “if I fall, the desperation to be free from Europe will still be there. The people who come after my fall won’t be as nice”.

Farage back then was talking about Brexit, but similar words could be applied to Liz Truss’ gallant failure to address today’s crushing energy crisis.

If mainstream parties don’t deliver a solution to Britain’s energy problems, ordinary people will not put up forever with freezing to death in their homes, or being bankrupted by their cost of living and energy bills.

You don’t have to look far back into history to see where such desperation could lead.

via Watts Up With That?

October 20, 2022 at 04:04AM

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