A government minister seemed this morning to support the idea that a permanent ban on fracking would be the best way his department could tackle climate change.
Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng was answering a question from Alexander Stafford, the new Conservative MP for Rother Valley in South Yorkshire.
Mr Stafford is the first ever Conservative to hold the constituency since it was formed in 1918. He has opposed fracking in the village of Woodsetts, where Ineos is waiting to hear whether it has consent for shale gas exploration.
Speaking formally for the first time in parliament, Mr Stafford asked:
“Would my right honourable friend agree with the residents of Woodsetts and Harthill in the Rother Valley that the best way his department can tackle climate change is make the moratorium on fracking permanent?”
Mr Kwarteng replied:
“Yes, um, absolutely.
“I obviously want to welcome the honourable gentleman to his place another very successful campaign.
“What I would like to say about fracking is that the moratorium is what it says, we are stopping it.
“The only way that it can be resumed is by compelling evidence which so far is not forthcoming. So the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over.”