Shadow chancellor promises support to protesters during visit to Cuadrilla’s fracking site

170915 John McDonnell RAG4

Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site at Preston New Road, 15 September 2017. Photo: Roseacre Awareness Group

The Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, promised Labour’s support to protesters outside Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool during a visit this afternoon.

Speaking opposite the site at Preston New Road, Mr McDonnell said:

“The purpose of today’s visit was to first of all come along and listen to hear about the operation itself and the implications of it and also the operation with regard to the policing.

“But also it was to take back a message to parliament and my colleagues there that we need to give you all the support we possibly can.”

Asked why he had visited, he said:

“Over a number of months people have been contacting me about the problems here, both in terms of the fracking that is being developed and also about the policing operation, so I thought I should come and see for myself.”

Mr McDonnell is the highest profile Labour politician to visit the Preston New Road protests. He spent more than two hours with campaign groups outside the site and at their nearby community hub at Maple Farm.

He said:

“It’s been an extraordinary benefit just to get the briefing about what’s happening here in terms of the operation of the site itself, the development and the implications for the local community and also the briefing with the regards to the nature of the policing that’s gone on.”

Campaigners have protested outside the site since Cuadrilla began work in early January.  There has been increasing criticism of what campaigners described as aggressive policing at the protests. Up to the end of July, there have been 279 arrests.

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The 2017 Labour Party manifesto opposed fracking, although some MPs and unions support the technique. Mr McDonnell said:

“The Labour Party, in its manifesto, said we’re opposed to fracking, once we get into government we will ban it and the reason we want to ban it is because we are convinced about the implications of climate change.

“To stand any chance of protecting the globe against climate change countries like ours have got to decarbonise our economy. And we can’t allow fracking to bring a new generation of carbon into our atmosphere again.”

On the support of the GMB union for fracking, he said:

“We are a democratic party and people are able to express their views and that’s what the GMB have done.

“But if you look at the main thrust of our policy now, it is to try and say to people we’ve got to recognise the threat of climate change. That means we’ve got to do everything we possibly can to avoid the threat to our planet.

“One of the issues for us, as a developed country in particular, is to ensure that we decarbonise. We can’t allow fracking then to basically place carbon back on the agenda for future generations.”

Roseacre Awareness Group said of Mr McDonnell:

“A  nice man who listened to all we had to say and was struck by our community spirit and determination to fight this industry. He reaffirmed Labour’s commitment to oppose fracking and he will be reporting back to Parliament.”

36 replies »

  1. Wonderful news from our next Chancellor. Keeping up the pressure on the fracking mafia and Trump lickers. Just a few more years of hurricanes and climate denying floods and forest fires and all the frackers and rednecks will be holed up in the Alamo refusing to surrender to reality .. down to their last tin of Blackwater’s Favourite Bitumen Sponge Cake

    • Leander
      I have not seen the term Trump lickers on this site before.
      Reading the information in the report above and the Labour Party manifesto, I see no reference to them either.

      Is this a term for people who support someone? So McDonnel lickers would support him, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Ms Green lickers and so on?

      If so, can you also help by explaining the link between what the shadow chancellor said and his supposed opposition to the incumbent US president? It may be worth noting that said incumbent has not been in place for long, and as I read, fracking did not start in the US on the election of D Trump.

      • Thanks for the help request. I sm more than happy to assist.

        Here at the Alamo we are all hunkering down in our wellies. Its been a bit wet recently .

        Praise be.

        Our saviour Donald has tweeted his best thoughts and assured us that Godzilla is real and not a Dinosaur and that King Kong was just sad and out of touch with the modern world.

        Ps Can you reassure our menfolk here especially Tobias Plumbtucker and Josiah Goonbellyburger that the reports of the Donaldzilla Crackers company to donate all profits to the citizens of Lancfrackshire to emigrate to New Zealand is just science fiction.?


        Praise be and load the cannonballs of prayer.

        Leander Raccoontail.

  2. Oh dear PhilipP! So, you not only refuse to see the elephant in the room, you don’t even see the room and just try to insult people who see both.
    Well, elephants in a room tend to be seen, eventually, by the majority.

    • The elephant has left the room Martin. I can’t be held responsible for those who keep ‘seeing things’ like that.

  3. I see that offshore wind power is doing well, getting more efficient and so forth. But just a reminder of the power situation in the UK, snapshot 30 minutes ago, from gridwatch UK

    Demand 35GW

    Gas 53%
    Nuclear 21.3%
    Coal 5.34%
    Pumped Hydro 4.64%
    Wind 3.85%
    Dutch supply 2.91%
    French supply ( Nuclear in the main ) 2.8%
    Hydro 2%
    Biomass 1.4%

    I realise that the sun is not shining, but it looks like 7.5% renewables in the mix.

    There is a long way to go to get to 50% renewables across the year. And a lot lot further if we start using offshore wind to fuel transport, as, of course, other than some rail, trams and a few electric cars, transport is hydrocarbon driven. Even harder if we count gas supplied homes ( cooking and heating ).

    Fracking or not, hydrocarbons will be in the mix for a while to come. Even at a competitive price.

    So, how much offshore wind power do we need to install to replace gas as is, without addressing gas heating or cooking? I think someone has posted that answer before.

      • Sherwulf
        That is a fair point, so I will see what I can do when it’s windy and daylight.
        My thought was however, that it helps show the gap to be bridged, and the Construction challenge ahead to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

      • Sherwulf
        Windy day today. Spot reading.
        Gas 46%
        Nuclear 19.2%
        Wind 17.4%
        French import 5%
        Biomass 3.66%
        Dutch imports 2.6%
        Hydro 2%

        I missed the daylight but it peaked at 5GW, so peaked at about 9% mid day. Over the daylight hours average 6%. Note that not all solar is metered , so that’s a conservative estimate.

        If it remains windy, gas % should drop below wind later tonight as demand drops.

    • Quick snapshot of UK shale gas contribution to UK energy system 0%

      Casting the current net a bit wider

      Wind, hydro and solar power in the country’s electricity mix climbed to a record 35 percent in the first half. 2017.

      Clever Germany


      UK Conservative Government being told about the stupid decisions they made by trying to put obstacles in the way of onshore wind and solar have caused a rethink. About time they got their common sense heads on.



      No wonder there is global divestment from fossil fuels

      The value of our offshore renewable potential

      Click to access 467ac5b8919.pdf

      There is no doubt renewables will take control.

      Lots coming up on using surplus renewable energy to power up electric vehicles.

      • John
        Thanks. Yes, read the two posts before….all good stuff. I think they have featured on here before.
        Have read the report re exporting power from offshore as well.
        I note that exporting wind power s like the gas market. Not internationally traded for price, needs a good idea of the market first and yes, needs a good infrastructure.

        It was just a reminder of the task ahead. I look forwards to the power companies paying the gov to put windfarms offshore ( not bidding for subsidy ).

        Good for Germany to work hard on renewables. 79% of their energy useage is still hydrocarbon based, so they would be a good consumer of all that UK wind power.

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