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.
- “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
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