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. Rt Hon John McDonnell MP

    Member for Hayes and Harlington Jun 2017 – London Borough of Hillingdon

    Pension Fund

    Fracking Investment £36,847,227.64

    Direct Fracking Investment £20,216,082.15

    Estimated Indirect Fossil Fuel
    Fracking Investment £16,631,145.49
    (through pooled funds)

    Fossil Fuel Investment £61,466,611.92

    Tens of £Millions in Foreign Fracking Operations…

  2. Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP

    Member for Islington North Jun 2017 – London Borough of Islington

    Pension Fund

    Fracking Investment £31,313,047.29

    Direct Fracking Investment £25,946,752.29

    Estimated Indirect Fossil Fuel
    Fracking Investment
    (through pooled funds) £5,366,295.00

    Fossil Fuel Investment £48,271,475.12

    Tens of £Millions in Foreign Fracking Operations…

    Jeremy Corbyn voted against requiring a more extensive set of conditions be met prior to consent for hydraulic fracturing being given.

    Jeremy Corbyn voted against greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract shale gas in National Parks, the Broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, World Heritage sites, and near points where water is abstracted for domestic and food production purposes.

  3. As a labour party member of 35 years, I would like to point out that, the statement by John McDonald “This is now Labour Party policy to oppose fracking”, is wrong, it has not been debated in conference and not voted on by the members.
    It should be noted that 80% of UK homes use gas for cooking and heating. The UK industry uses gas for many industrial processes. Should a Labour government be elected the UK will still need to use gas for many years to come (should the UK be dependant on Europe and Russian gas?).
    Renewables are intermittent and wind turbines have a 30% capacity factor, this means that for 70% of the time they have to be backed-up by gas to produce electricity.
    If one looks at the protestors, they are mainly people and politicians from areas where fracking will take place and are NIMBY in nature.
    The UK need to be energy independent and should develop fracking to achieve this. Consider jobs, the balance of payments,the reduction of CO2 by burning gas as apposed to coal or even wood pellets.
    Support the development of well controlled fracking to produce UK natural gas.

    • We are not talking about gas in general Gasman, just shale gas extraction.

      I think you of all people need to put the Russian myth to bed.

      Renewables are the future; you cannot keep using a finite source of energy. Slow going due to tortoise deployment by the governance due to their party being funded by the O&G industry.

      As stated before, when a human perceives a threat they will rise to the challenge; call them NIMBY if you want, but that would apply to every homeowner in the UK due to the territorial nature of the population; there will always be something we don’t like, it’s the level of threat that brings about concerted action.

      The UK can never be independent, we gave that up when we invaded the world and put our flag around the globe. We are a trading nation. We can never be self-sufficient in anything, people want too much and sadly are not prepared to live within their means – you only have to observe the gambling nature of ‘investing in long shots’ to see what the world has become. We are an island of 66 million acres and 66 million people, work out what you can do with that as far as food and energy are concerned.

      Whatever you think, opposition to fracking will only rise….blogging here will not halt the tide of change; many are awake, more will follow.
      As a labour member, I suggest you check the last manifesto.

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

    • I’m not sure everything that becomes policy is always fully debated at party conferences. I don’t recall the Consevative’s debating and voting on the changes to planning policy etc to favour fracking. I think both parties may have had their position and intentions included in their manifestos though. I also remember some speeches on fracking made by delegates around the time Labour announced their opposition to fracking at the 2016 conference in Liverpool, as it was recorded and placed on various news and social media sites. I am not an expert in such matters. I may be wrong and apologise in advance if I am. But I can’t see how every policy a political party changes or introduces must be voted through during the few days at a political conference? Very interested to know.

  4. “John McDonnell addresses 100 Women rally” is the caption to deliberately close-cropped image #1.

    If there really were 100 women protestors in suffragette-style outfits there, there’d be a long-shot photo.

    Any photo available showing more than say a couple of dozen?

    Surprise your readers ….

  5. Ruth George MP

    Member for High Peak Jun 2017 – Derbyshire County Council

    Pension Fund

    Fracking Investment £183,429,493.51

    Direct Fracking Investment £145,842,258.00

    Estimated Indirect
    Fracking Investment
    (through pooled funds) £37,587,235.51

    Fossil Fuel Investment £257,440,766.20

    Tens of £Millions invested in foreign fracking operations…

  6. Caroline Lucas MP

    This extract was taken from a Guardian article:

    For Lucas, the big problem with fracking has nothing to do with the risk that it will cause earthquakes, contaminate the water table or pollute the soil. In fact, she thinks it possible that stringent regulations could minimise those risks. “It’s not that fracking itself is necessarily worse than ordinary gas extraction. It’s the fact that we’re just about to put into place a whole new infrastructure for a whole new fossil-fuel industry, at exactly the time when we need to be reducing our emissions.” The problem, in other words, is climate change.

    Some environmentalists argue that shale gas is the obvious answer to our energy needs, until we’ve worked out how to power the country with renewables. Lucas accepts that we do need gas to tide us over, “but I would prefer to keep importing it from Norway, for example, because it will be easier to turn that tap off than it would be to dismantle an entire new industry that we had deliberately incentivised.


  7. Mike Amesbury MP

    Member for Weaver Vale Jun 2017 – Cheshire

    Pension Fund

    Fracking Investment £46,902,863.78

    Direct Fracking Investment £36,600,836.00

    Estimated Indirect
    Fracking Investment
    (through pooled funds) £10,302,027.78

    Fossil Fuel Investment £92,838,887.60

    Tens of £Millions invested in foreign fracking operations…

  8. Rachel Maskell MP

    Member for York Central Jun 2017 – North Yorkshire

    Pension Fund

    Fracking Investment £81,445,452.00

    Direct Fracking Investment £5,470,398.03

    Estimated Indirect
    Fracking Investment
    (through pooled funds) £75,975,053.97

    Fossil Fuel Investment £175,702,288.57

    Tens of £Millions invested in foreign fracking operations…

      • How does an MP represent their constituents?

        The main roles of a Member of Parliament are to review legislation and to represent local interests in Parliament at Westminster. In the House of Commons, MPs scrutinise legislation, attend debates and committees, and generally protect, advocate and promote the interests of their constituency at a national level.

        A local Councillor whether town, district or county, represents a ward on their respective Council. An MP represents the whole constituency at Westminster. Councils have responsibility for areas such as education, social services, rubbish collection, and planning all at a local level.

        As stated an MP represents the whole constituency, if in their own Constituency let’s take for example Greater Manchester with 27 MPs representing being 23 Labour and 4 Conservative with Labour Andy Burnham as Mayor. Under all these MPs the Greater Manchester Council has invested £989,047,680.30 in foreign fracking operations. I find it very difficult to understand that the County Council could invest £Billion in an industry so at odds with not only there political allegiances but the electorate if it proposed as such…

  9. “Don’t post what you don’t know” Joe.

    No, leave that to the antis. That is their place in life, and they use DOD to show that again, and again, and again….

    Meanwhile, oil now above $80/barrel and the first frost of the year observed along the south coast. The majority will be starting to remember the Beast from the East. Alternatives may be the future but many elderly would just like to afford to live, warm and cosy, to see the future.

  10. Kishney please, please spare us the LG pension funding stats. Ordinary members of the scheme ,individual MPs and councillors do not have any control over investment decisions. Perhaps you are encouraging them all to divest and are raising awareness in the hope to start a campaign? But, given your support of fracking I doubt that. Therefore, if you comments are to made in order to demonstrate hypocrisy, then your accusation is groundless because, as I keep saying, it is the fund managers that make investment decisions.

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