Chris Skidmore: Tory MP quits over new oil and gas licences
In a scathing resignation, Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has announced he will step down next week in protest of the government’s controversial new energy policy.
The Kingswood MP explained that his “personal decision” stemmed from his belief that constituents deserved the opportunity to elect a new representative, particularly given the contentious nature of the impending legislation. The bill, announced by the government in November, seeks to delineate a clear distinction from Labour, which has declared it will not grant new licenses if it assumes power.
Skidmore slammed the Energy Bill currently being debated, which aims to guarantee annual licensing of new North Sea oil and gas projects. The former minister said he cannot in good conscience support legislation that will increase fossil fuel extraction amid a climate crisis.
In his resignation letter, Skidmore warned “the future will judge harshly those that do” vote for the bill. He argued expanding oil and gas licenses deeply undermines the UK’s role as a leader on net zero emissions.
Skidmore was the minister who signed the 2050 net zero target into law under Theresa May. He now joins a growing list of Tory MPs and officials criticizing the government’s backsliding on green commitments.
His departure triggers a by-election in his formerly safe Tory seat near Bristol. This presents another electoral headache for struggling Prime Minister Rishi Sunak atop this week’s recall petition ousting MP Peter Bone.
Labour shadow secretary Ed Miliband praised Skidmore’s stand against a government “desperate” to ignore scientific warnings. The opposition has vowed to end new licensing if elected.
Skidmore’s resignation exemplifies the deep disquiet within Conservative ranks around short-sighted policies that imperil emissions targets. It also highlights the immense damage the government’s reckless energy plans inflict upon Britain’s reputation and the future of our planet.
The resignation of Skidmore adds to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s challenges, as he already faces a by-election in Wellingborough following the ousting of suspended Tory MP Peter Bone by local voters after a recall petition. The political landscape is evolving rapidly, and these developments underscore the tensions within the Tory Party over critical policy issues and their ideological direction.
With a Tory civil war still in place this could be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back…
The Race to the Bottom: Sunak and Starmer Fail to Inspire
As speculation mounts over the timing of the next general election, one thing is clear – neither Rishi Sunak nor Keir Starmer have succeeded in winning the hearts and minds of voters. Their uninspiring leadership has set the stage for a race to the bottom between two unpopular parties desperately clinging to power.
Though Sunak indicated plans to hold an election in late 2024, he may face a leadership challenge as the beleaguered Tories seek to avoid defeat after years of bungled government. But toppling their leader would be mere window dressing on a party that has lost the public’s trust through greed and incompetence.
Equally, Starmer’s lacklustre Labour opposition promises little real change from Tory rule. Abandoning the party’s progressive roots to appeal to business interests, Starmer offers only weak slogans instead of visionary policies that would lift up struggling communities.
Voters face a choice between unappealing options offering more of the same failed neoliberal economics that have widened inequality and disempowered workers. It is less an election than the shuffling of deck chairs on an imperilled ship of state haemorrhaging public confidence.
Until a party emerges that truly speaks for ordinary citizens against the powerful special interests rigging the system, elections will remain empty spectacles rubber-stamping more oligarchy and misrule. The nation deserves better choices than these uninspiring figures and their intellectually bankrupt parties.
With the cost of living crisis about to bite even harder, Britain is crying out for leaders that put people before profits and communities before corporations. But neither lacklustre Sunak nor feeble Starmer fit that description. The only race occurring is to the bottom, with citizens left behind by politicians who have lost their way. We must demand a new direction before it is too late.