TORY MPs’ ELECTION FEARS INTENSIFY: TIME FOR A RETHINK ON FRACKING
2 OCTOBER 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Conservative Party Conference 2018 has seen the controversial issue of fracking being raised several times by party members during fringe events at the Birmingham ICC.
Today’s fringe event organised by Policy Exchange and EnergyUK, was on Powering the Clean Growth revolution: making the opportunity a reality. The debate focused on the government’s Clean Growth Strategy and decarbonisation plans.
Conservative MP for Wells, James Heappey MP, reiterated the election concerns of backbenchers, and stood to voice his concerns on fracking, stating:
“I wonder if we should look again at fracking.”
On Sunday, during a fringe debate at Conference, Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire, Lee Rowley, warned  that the government could lose the next general election and parliamentary seats unless it drops its backing for fracking. Mr Rowley, a former oil and gas analyst, likened the government’s unbridled support for shale gas as a “barnacle that needs to be removed from the Conservative boat as quickly as possible,” quoting Tory strategist, Sir Lynton Crosby’s previously-used phrase.
Mr Rowley told a fringe event:
“At the moment the lion has not roared on fracking because we have dealt with less than a dozen applications in this country for the last eight years. If we’re to do it at scale, if we’re to achieve whatever objective the government is setting, we will have to have hundreds in Derbyshire.
“We cannot go from the level of objections that we have had with one well to hundreds of them and not expect a political impact.”
“We (the Tories) have so many problems at the moment… we all want to get back on to domestic agenda items as quickly as we can because we saw last week the danger of Jeremy Corbyn if we don’t do that.”
This echoes the rumblings on the Conservative backbench of rebellion  against the government’s policies on fracking, with the Permitted Development and NSIP consultation plans to remove local democracy from fracking planning applications, drawing objections  from councils and MPs across the country.
Feelings are running high within the Lancashire community where fracking is about to take place in the coming weeks. Anger is directed at the government who in 2016, overruled  Lancashire County Council’s refusal of Cuadrilla’s fracking application back in 2015, drawing criticism over the top-down power-grab for local democracy.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
FOR FURTHER COMMENTS
For MP comment:
Lee Rowley MP’s office – 0207 219 4197
Lewis Preston (Mr Rowley’s aide) – 07772 715657
Frack Free United Steve Mason – 07793 821242