Fracking opposition is core Labour policy, shadow chancellor tells Westminster rally

180912 100 women John McDonnell

John McDonnell addresses 100 Women rally, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop, 12/9/2018

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, told anti-fracking campaigners at a rally in Westminster that the Labour Party stood in solidarity with them. And he predicted opposition to fracking would be a key issue at the next election.

Speaking at the gathering in Parliament Square, Mr McDonnell said:

“The message from Jeremy Corbyn and myself is: You have our overwhelming support. We are here in solidarity with you.”

Mr McDonnell said:

“This is such an important issue.

“There is no way that any government can meet its climate change targets with fracking.

“We are putting the lives of our children, the lives of the next generation, at risk. This issue is at our core.”

Mr McDonnell was one of several politicians to address the rally, which saw more than 100 women from across the UK gather opposite the Houses of Parliament to demonstrate their opposition to fracking.

Many wore Suffragette costumes to mark the 100 years since some women received the right to vote in parliamentary elections.

Mr McDonnell said Labour was mobilising its movement against fracking.

“We will link and work cooperatively with other political parties like the Greens who are opposing fracking.

“We have to use every effort we can to campaign against fracking proposals. When the general election comes, this will be one of the key issues in that debate.”

Mr McDonnell said Labour had expected “significant opposition” from parts of its movement to the decision to include a ban on fracking in the party’s manifesto at the last election. But he said:

“We got overwhelming support. This is now Labour Party policy. When we get into government we will legislate accordingly.”

He said Labour was looking at policies to build human rights and climate protection into trade deals and to encourage pensions funds to invest in decarbonisation.

“This [policy] is a huge advance for the Labour Party and the Labour and trades union movement.”

180912 100 women Ruth George

Ruth George MP, at the 100 Women protest, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The rally also heard from Labour MPs from constituencies in shale gas areas.

Ruth George (above), Labour MP for High Peak in Derbyshire, criticised ministers over plans to change the planning rules for shale gas developments.

A parliamentary debate earlier today heard arguments against the proposals to make non-fracking shale gas plans permitted development, without the need for planning permission. The government is also proposing to give decision-making on major shale gas production schemes to a minister on the advice of a planning inspector. (DrillOrDrop report coming soon)

Ms George said:

“The government is taking away the democratic process of planning. They will ride rough-shod over communities across the country.”

180912 100 women Mike Amesbury

Mike Amesbury MP addresses 100 Women protest, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale in Cheshire, said:

“[Conservative MPs] are waking up to the fact that this will hurt them where it counts when it comes to the general election. They stood on a platform of driving what they see as a revolution in the shale gas industry and fracking. We need to expose them for what they are – the local cheer leaders for fracking.”

180912 100 women Rachel Maskell

Rachel Maskell MP addresses 100 Women protest, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop

Rachel Maskell (Labour, York Central) said the battle against fracking was not over.

“If we let this go through the damage will be clear to see. We need to keep the pressure on the government.”

180912 100 women Caroline Lucas

Caroline Lucas MP, at the 100 Women rally, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas described the government as cowardly for announcing consent for fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site on the last day of parliament before the summer holiday. She told the women who protest regularly outside the site:

“You are leading the way with your inspiration. You are putting your bodies in the way of the fracking people.”

180912 100 women Jenny Jones

Baroness Jenny Jones at 100 Women protest, Parliament Square. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Green Party’s peer, Baroness Jenny Jones, said the injunction granted to Cuadrilla for Preston New Road and surrounding roads “deserves to be broken”. She urged the rally:

“Please do not lose heart. It is easy to think it is impossible to shift a government or a policy.”

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Reporting from this debate was made possible by individual donations from DrillOrDrop readers

61 replies »

  1. KatT-you were asked some days ago to explain why that sort of money is invested by the fund managers in those industries, and did not.

    Could it be that you know, as I know, and the majority of the population knows that those fund managers do so to maximise returns and security for said pensioners?

    Which means, like the policy of the antis to allow less secure energy sources and more expensive sources to be utilised, to forgo taxation income from imports and also employment opportunities in the UK some would now like the pensioners to risk lower returns and less security on their pensions! No wonder that the economics of your case is so regularly ignored.

    • Which brings into question the value of pensions and the moral discussion on the expectation of investing in controversial businesses to satisfy the consumer lifestyle of the west?

      • If those who already have much more than the majority of the Earth’s population, demand more and more, then the ‘love of money’ indeed is the ‘root of all that is bad’ (J.C. sometime in the past, we think….)

        Most of the world exists on only what they need, and some less than this because of your pensions, investments and re-valuations of thin air. Get a grip. We are all so lucky to exist at this time in this space called the UK; we all, myself included, need to take more responsibility and stop being so greedy.

        • and driven by us; ironically most people in the UK dream of a work free life with the simple things….what many of the new consumers already have; it seems we are marketing them a one way ticket to hell…..

  2. We all need to have a little more empathy for those elderly people already living in energy poverty in this country and not attempt to force more into the same situation because of our own idealistic concepts. BUT-I have a solution. Let the idealists live how they like and let the rest also live as they like, especially when many will have gone without during their younger life so that they can save for a decent pension for latter years. And let’s encourage industry so they can pay more tax, more pension contributions, and those who need help can pay less, or none at all.

    You have mentioned your living off grid before Sherwulfe and good luck to you. My parents did something similar. However, when we came to sell their property which was very much set up to achieve this there were masses of prospective purchasers. Only one family wished to live as my parents had. The rest wanted to take the property back on grid, install what would be called all modern conveniences and live a much more conventional life. That means a decent and secure pension once they had stopped working.

    In other parts of the world it is different. In many of them retirement is not an age the majority have to consider. I don’t think many in the UK would like to be dragged back there.

    • Just poverty, Martin, just poverty; due to austerity and greed. Most people in the world have already ‘retired’ and live a simple life…laughing at us spending 50 years working ourselves into the ground to have a decade of what they have if we are lucky, and if you make it, possibly enough to live and all your hard earned assets back in the pot when you die. Time to drag that money off the ‘sweetie’ kid and put it back in the system…..

  3. Once again you post about something you know little of, Sherwulfe. I happen to have travelled around the world helping people to realise their dreams of moving towards what we would term in the West as “middle class”. You can define that as you like, but take a look at recent statistics for the developing world-that is what they are starting to achieve. Yes, I suspect some would still prefer to live as their ancestors did, but they are a very small minority.

    Perhaps you would like to explain the huge exodus of economic migrants to the West, Sherwulfe, when they are unable to fulfil that ambition in their own country? Coming for the “simple” life? Absolute fiction.

    Fake news-again.

    • Dear me, another fictitious hat, or indeed shall we call thee legion?

      The exodus is simple; we, the west have systematically destroyed their countries, playing war games with their homes and bidding for the oil and gas through proxy. Others come because the food no longer grows due to escalating climate change, or through local conflict inflamed by weapons sold to warring factions, possibly made just down the road from PNR.

      You cannot justify your stance Martin, your calling on a fictional ‘class’ will destroy us all. We are not classified, we are all human.

      Keep perpetuating the myth and it won’t be just travelers pitching next to your home. Good luck with that.

      • We are moving into a new era Martin; there is only so much food, water and finite energy to go round….you are gonna have to learn to share.

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