Politics

What MPs said about the Queen’s Speech

MPs debated the Queen’s Speech this week, which included measures which ministers said would curb protest and promote energy security.

DrillOrDrop has compiled a selection of Westminster comments on these issues.

Photo: DrillOrDrop
  • “no landowner or council should be made to have onshore gas production if they do not want to” – Conservative, Sir John Redwood
  • “they (the government) are making a mistake if they think that they can revisit fracking” – Labour, Mark Hendrick
  • we are yet to see a single piece of evidence that further licensing in either the North sea or fracking would increase UK energy security or lower bills – Labour, Anna McMorin
  • [ministers] are again failing to work with the police to sort out swift injunctions against serious disruptive protests or to help the police sensibly to use the powers that they have – Labour, Yvette Cooper
  • The government are deluded if they think that the people who were willing to stand outside this place and risk arrest and imprisonment are going to lie down and accept this Public Order Bill – SNP, Anne McLaughlin

Fracking and onshore oil and gas

“I suggest that no landowner or council should be made to have onshore gas production if they do not want to. That would be a democratic decision over permissions and it would be a decision of those who have the land or property nearby as a result. I think that some areas would have it—suitably protected and environmentally tailored, as it could be. We already have some onshore oil and gas. Wych Farm, for example, is in a very beautiful part of the world and it produces oil quite happily onshore. The Government need to put into law a framework where landowners and communities that agree to participate in onshore oil and gas development should receive a participation in the royalty of some sorts, or free gas to consumers, or whatever.”

John Redwood, Con, Wokingham

“Fracking is not the right solution. It would be deeply damaging to our environment. It is not necessary and we could have anticipated the energy shortages a long time ago by building in resilience.”

Matt Weston, Labour shadow education minister

“the polluting effects of fracking do not stop at the borders of somebody’s land or at a local authority border. Fracking pollutes the aquifers and it can and does create earth tremors that go well beyond all that. It is surely a matter of national policy that we do not pursue this short-sighted avenue of trying to get gas, and that we look at better methods of conservation and more sustainable methods of generating our energy.”

Jeremy Corbyn, Indep, Islington North

“[The secretary of state] is starting to look again at fracking. He argues that the wholesale energy market has brought that on, but the decision to put a moratorium on fracking had nothing to do with that; it was about safety in production. It was never a consideration to lift the moratorium because of energy prices. It is a desperate attempt to bring that dangerous business to certain communities—in the north of England in particular—when it is not warranted on safety grounds or, for that matter, on energy grounds. Nuclear can provide the extra energy that we need, so I support the Government in what they are trying to do on nuclear, but they are making a mistake if they think that they can revisit fracking. Labour welcomes steps for a low-carbon economy and the commitment to nuclear, and the impact that that will have on our energy independence.”

Mark Hendrick, Labour, Preston

“We know that new onshore renewables are six times cheaper than the cost of running gas plants, but we are yet to see a single piece of evidence that further licensing in either the North sea or fracking would increase UK energy security or lower bills. No more warm words—we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get this right. It is imperative that this Government match deeds with words.”

Anna McMorrin, shadow justice minister

“We are going to need oil and gas for a long time and the Government are proving that they want to make use of those resources to make us a richer and more competitive country.”

Robert Syms, Conservative, Poole

Protest legislation

The hone secretary, Priti Patel said recent climate change protests had drained police resources and threatened public safety. MPs responded on party lines.

“the Government’s top priority is a rehashed Public Order Bill, even though they have just done one, because they are again failing to work with the police to sort out swift injunctions against serious disruptive protests or to help the police sensibly to use the powers that they have.”

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary

“I also welcome the opportunity to crack down further on the mass disruption and criminal damage that has often been allowed to masquerade as legitimate protest in recent years. That is not right or acceptable.”

Ben Bradley, Conservative, Mansfield

“The government are deluded if they think that the people who were willing to stand outside this place and risk arrest and imprisonment are going to lie down and accept this Public Order Bill. They are also deluded if they think that those Members on this side of the House and in the other place will roll over and accept defeat.

Anne McLaughlin, SNP justice spokesperson

“The measures are therefore welcome and I am glad the Government are on the front foot when it comes to dealing with these issues. That is vital. Part of the problem and the reason we have to legislate is that we have seen examples of City banks where people outside have hit buildings and smashed windows with hammers, and, unfortunately, the judicial system has let people off. Sometimes the people who are making decisions in the judicial system do not understand the seriousness of where that leads. If we let there be some degree of anarchy, that can easily overspill and break out, so the measures are welcome.”

Robert Syms, Conservative, Poole

“We have had a decade of successive Tory Governments obsessed with chipping away at any institutions or activities that constrain or hold them to account: trade unions, charities, the Electoral Commission, our courts and, obviously, our EU member-ship. Now, it is human rights and protesters yet again in the firing line.”

Stuart McDonald, SNP home affairs spokesperson

“I am not averse to protest—I have involved myself in many protests over the years of my political involvement—but we have to strike a balance between giving people the right to have their say about issues that concern them and at the same time ensuring that they do not deliberately, callously and selfishly deny others the ability to go about their business.

“It is right that the government should take action to ensure that those who engage in this selfish behaviour and who smugly think that their cause is more important than anybody else’s welfare are dealt with.”

Sammy Wilson, DUP work and pensions spokesperson

“The people of Peterborough are hugely supportive of measures taken against those who glue themselves to roads, who disrupt ambulances and who disrupt hard-working people going about their ordinary business. Action against the mindless fools who do that is hugely popular in Peterborough.”

Paul Bristow, Con, Peterborough

“the Government are trying to create a false divide. Most people, if we ask them, want to see greater action on climate change and support the right to peaceful protest, while thinking that the tactics used by some protesters are ill-judged, inconsiderate and counter-productive.

“I am not convinced there needs to be legislation on this, rather than the Government working with infrastructure providers to obtain injunctions. Again, the reason is very much about headlines and trying to stir up antipathy. It is also interesting that the people who try to do that do not even manage to pay lip service to the need to address climate change.

“It is now down to the Government to prove that the injunction system does not work.”

Christine Jadine, Lib Democrat international trade spokesperson

“one thing that has really grated on me in recent years is the minority of protesters who have pretty much used guerrilla warfare to disrupt the everyday lives of the vast majority of our constituents.

“I cannot fathom how the privileged and entitled few think it is acceptable to stop our carers and nurses from being able to get to work to care for our sick and elderly, or to blockade a fire appliance from getting to a serious fire burning a local business to the ground—or, more tragically, perhaps preventing people inside the burning building from being saved. Of course, that applies to any blue light service, not just the fire service. That minority of criminals truly disgust me. They have no concept of the real world out there. They have no concept of the misery they bring to those less fortunate than themselves.

Marco Longhi, Conservative, Dudley North

“On the Public Order Bill, this should really be about tackling injustice. However, it is not about tackling injustice; it is about restricting further rights to protest in a legitimate way.

“There are extreme cases, as we saw here when people glued themselves to the glass in the Gallery overlooking the Chamber, but laws exist at the moment to deal with that sort of thing. The normal activity of demonstrations is something that, as a free country, we have come to expect, and if the Government are too heavy-handed on this, Bill will do a great deal more to cause problems by not allowing people to protest freely.”

Mark Hendrick, Lab, Preston

“I have protested legally on many occasions and I was born in a decade when protesting was the norm … so I understand the importance of it. I also understand, however, that people should not stop other people getting to work, nurses turning up for their job or a man earning his money. I express concern about something that I read in the press last week about a lady who was fined and jailed for taking her child to school.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Jim Shannon, DUP human rights spokesperson      

9 replies »

  1. “It particularly targets protest groups including Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain which have used disruptive methods to draw attention to the climate crisis, with people who aim to lock themselves or others to buildings, roads or printing presses committing an offence under the new bill.
    The home secretary has repeatedly denied accusations that she is attempting to erode the right to protest through the legislation.”

    Which is in itself contradictory since it was the government that locked down the entire country “including” mass disruption and locking down the public in buildings, roads or printing presses, not to mention the destruction of private businesses and preventing visits to dying relatives. That was done for two years under the pandemic, without any mention of the criminal effects of the massive disruption and prevention of movement, and the destruction of businesses and lives. But of course the government’s own activities in disrupting the entire country doesn’t get a mention.

    But the lies and false narratives that were intended to cover up Party Gate and the insult of the failure by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign. Which is the penalty for lying to Parliament. Were avoided, at least for now, to allow the local elections to proceed, until Sue Gray and the Metropolitan Police release all the truth and fines due to Party Gate. Then perhaps the real extent of the lies and concealment will be made public.

    Party Gate, the recession, government incompetency and the energy price hikes are causing real poverty now, not in later in August. The failure to act upon the very real poverty in this country caused by this government’s lack of appropriate action, other than putting ordinary people into debt to the government by the insane suggestion of “loans”.

    When the government only have the taxpayers’ money, none of their own, so they are intent upon loaning the taxpayers’ government taxed money back to them….whilst reducing tax on billionaires and increasing tax on workers.

    That insanity and incompetence as led to the Tory Party loss of the Westminster constituency, Wandsworth (Margaret Thatchers constituency) and Barnet in London and hundreds more countrywide. The government’s attempt to blame ER and IB and to introduce totalitarian anti-Human Rights under the Public Order legislation to divert attention onto others doesn’t convince either.

    The hypocrisy never stops, does it.

    Have a nice Day.

  2. The ignorance doesn’t stop either.

    Partygate has nothing to do with the cost of living, or poverty. So called Partygate was actually about essential workers continuing to work whilst others were at home, with much of their work aimed at keeping those people at home supported financially and in other ways. Some appear to have taken time out of that work, or at the end of that work, in a way that is not appreciated, but they did that work. But then, I am that old I predate the Internet age and have this concept that progress is more important than process. For others the process is paramount and progress is not. I will stick to my belief that I pay taxes towards progress, as if there is no progress then my taxes will just get greater and what is returned will not.

    Secondly, the Government locking down the country was actually supported by close to all of the HoC, some of whom admittedly, now forget that. Often the same some who wanted it extended. Yes, some of the requirements within lock down were disproportionate, but the politicians were following medical advice very closely at the start of the pandemic which only eased towards the end of the two year period. England was the country that actually eased restrictions quicker than most towards the end of the two year period, once the vaccines program gave them the medical, counter argument, to do so. It was a faction within the Tories that insured that would happen, against many in the HoC outside of the Tory Party.

    The cost of living is individual to most families in UK. Most families in the UK have come through the pandemic with savings greater than they had before the pandemic. House prices keep rising which supports that fact.
    Warren Buffett warned about inflation a long while ago. Within days the Fed, then US politicians, then UK Ministers, then the Bank of England poured scorn on the possibility. I believed the Oracle of Omaha. What else was likely? $trillions had been put into economies, Wall Street had notched up highs every other day, yet most business was not functioning. My haircut was £10 then moved to £15 post pandemic.
    So, most families, will be able to divert some of those savings to fund different expenditure than they might have wished for, and Government help required there is modest, although some will be required to try and make sure they spend on other items apart from energy. Some families will not be in that situation, and are getting extra help, and many will get a lot more with the NI change coming shortly. They are likely to get more, but it does need to be targeted otherwise inflation will be fueled, not tackled.

    Spoke to a guy yesterday who admitted he had just spent £35 to have his hair and beard trimmed. Spoke with his wife a few days earlier who stated they would need to cut back due to the cost of living. Ermm-get rid of the beard? He has no religious attachment, is not a Lib Dem, or a protestor. Seems a small price to not pay, when summer is around the corner and the insulation value is not required.

    I would suggest that come April economic data, the picture may start to look quite different, as expenditure was held back whilst people adjusted/budgeted for the rise in energy prices. Inflation will continue but expenditure is likely to rise quite steeply. Holiday bookings are already indicating that, so are other bookings with some restaurants indicating full bookings for two years ahead. Any Government needs to be careful it does not allow that, if it happens, to fuel inflation even more. Recession or rampant inflation are both to be avoided, so don’t expect more borrowing of previous scale.

    Perhaps the answer is to encourage UK business to replace business from over the horizon, so the Chancellor gains some more UK business taxation? I can think of a few oil wells transferred to the UK which could help, even in a modest way!

    • Meanwhile, back in the Real World, there are two links in the Drill or Drop May 2022 Headlines:

      Revealed – the ‘carbon bombs’ set to trigger catastrophic climate breakdown
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2022/may/11/fossil-fuel-carbon-bombs-climate-breakdown-oil-gas
      [video src="https://uploads.guim.co.uk/2022/04/29/world-1080-low.mp4" /]

      Exclusive: Oil and gas majors are planning scores of vast projects that threaten to shatter the 1.5C climate goal. If governments do not act, these firms will continue to cash in as the world burns
      by Damian Carrington and Matthew Taylor
      Wed 11 May 2022 12.57 BSTLast modified on Thu 12 May 2022 09.19 BST

      “Code red Plans to expand Carbon bombs The money The transition Race against time
      The world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are quietly planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts, a Guardian investigation shows.
      The exclusive data shows these firms are in effect placing multibillion-dollar bets against humanity halting global heating. Their huge investments in new fossil fuel production could pay off only if countries fail to rapidly slash carbon emissions, which scientists say is vital.”
      “The oil and gas industry is extremely volatile but extraordinarily profitable, particularly when prices are high, as they are at present. ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron have made almost $2tn in profits in the past three decades, while recent price rises led BP’s boss to describe the company as a “cash machine”.”

      • North Sea oil and gas bosses get combined £25m pay rise
        https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/may/11/ten-biggest-north-sea-oil-and-gas-bosses-pay-rises-to-54m

        “Pay package included a £4.6m ‘golden hello’ for CEO of the sector’s largest operator, Harbour Energy’s Linda Cook
        Harbour Energy is the biggest oil and gas producer in the North Sea and paid chief executive Linda Cook a total remuneration package of £6m. Photograph: Harbour Energy”

        Alex Lawson Energy correspondent Wed 11 May 2022 19.27 BSTLast modified on Thu 12 May 2022 00.59 BST

        “Bosses of some of the largest North Sea oil and gas companies have been handed bumper payouts – including a £4.6m “golden hello” for the chief executive of the region’s biggest producer – amid growing pressure for a windfall tax.”

        “Most chief executives of the biggest operators received a pay hike, according to recently filed accounts, boosted by the rapid recovery of the price of oil from the depths of the pandemic.”

        “Analysis by the Guardian shows the executives of the 10 largest North Sea operators received a combined £54.4m in their last reported financial year, up from £29.4m a year earlier.”

        • Hey! It’s a Friggatriskaidekaphobia day! (Fear of Friday 13th)

          Friggatriskaidekaphobia? Or is that Frackamoratoriumtriskaidekaphobia? (Fear of the fracking moratorium being continued on Friday the 13th of May 2022)

          Have a nice Friday 13th Frackamoratoriumtriskaidekaphobia!

          Enjoy!

          Enjoy!

          • Of course, more accurately, that should be Friggafrackamoratoritriskaidekaphobia Day shouldn’t it. It scans better too.

            But perhaps that would be too accurate for some to absorb? Being so ignorant, which doesn’t stop, that is?

            Never mind.

            Such is life.

            Having a Great Day.

            Hope you are too….

  3. And back to reality.

    Neptune in last 3 years spent more than $500m securing energy supplies for the UK, equivalent to $3 for every $1 earned in UK.

    To spend more than $1 billion over next five years to help secure energy supplies. Neptune operates around 11% of UKs gas supply.

    Pay rises? More pay equals more tax to then redistribute their wealth. Can but hope some of them are actually taxed in UK for what they earn in UK. What they may earn outside of the UK should IMHO be the areas where they pay that tax into. Otherwise it is akin to piracy.

    I thought all political parties were in agreement that the way forward was to produce more well paid jobs in UK?

    Good job the few who disagree are apolitical! Whingers in the wilderness.

    Visited a private school yesterday, just as the mums did the school run. Nice to see they have been spending some of their income on so much Botox and new cars. Shame that many of the cars were imported. Trust the Botox came from a UK clinic.

  4. More reality:

    UK feed wheat price rises by over 60% in a year, increasing prices of such staple items as eggs dramatically.

    Yet, the UK can enjoy E10 petrol, that is less efficient, and consumes a lot of UK produced wheat.

    In other words, a double whammy. Sorry consumer, you not only pay more once, you pay more twice, and even more so when other items produced from the feeding of wheat are considered.

  5. It is reported in the Telegraph that Natural gas is to be classed as a “green” investment by Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary. He is understood to be keen that drilling for the fossil fuel is listed as “environmentally sustainable” in a new classification of activities being drawn up by his department and the Treasury to guide investors.

    Seems to me the EAT OR HEAT EMERGENCY and the Ukraine war is finally forcing a sense of realism in central government.

    By the way the U.K. is already exporting as much gas as its pipelines to Europe can carry. The reason we can export is that we have facilities to handle LNG which is imported either from Qatar or the USA. Gas from the USA of course is shale gas. Germany is building similar import facilities as fast as they possibly can. Fracked gas from the USA is one of the biggest weapons we have against Putin. If only it were imported more widely in Europe Putin would not have the economic pressure he has now.

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