Which MPs have spoken out against fracking? Here are a few to keep an eye on

Posted by Greenpeace UK — 15 June 2015 at 12:29pm - Comments
by. Credit: Wikipedia
From left to right: Jason McCartney, Caroline Lucas, Cat Smith, Mark Williams, Liz Saville Roberts, Stuart McDonald

In the run up to last month’s election, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth teamed up to launch the Frack Free Promise – a political pledge that candidates could sign on to and promise to oppose fracking.

Hundreds of candidates joined in and added their names. But of those that signed up, who was elected? We take a quick look at some of them below – the full list of 54 MPs that signed can be seen here – as their support will be more crucial than ever as government looks set to continue its march to frack Britain.

Jason McCartney – Colne Valley, Conservative Party

With only four candidate sign-ups, support from Conservatives was thin on the ground. Crucially, however, two of the four have been returned to Parliament – new MP William Wragg, and older hand Jason McCartney.

Elected in 2010, McCartney was one of the six conservative MPs who voted for a moratorium (temporary ban) on fracking back in January. In the past, McCartney has noted his concerns over health, environmental, climate and democratic rights issues over fracking. He’s also previously indicated his opposition to fracking locally. Hopefully by signing the pledge the people of Colne Valley can rest assured that they have an MP who’ll stand up for them should fracking companies come calling.

Caroline Lucas – Brighton Pavillion, Green Party

As the UK’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas needs little introduction. The popular Brighton MP retained her seat with an increased majority of 8,000, despite a strong challenge from her Labour opponent. Her position is deeply held, demonstrated in 2013 when she was arrested whilst protesting against fracking in Balcombe. We can expect her to remain a strong voice against fracking both in Sussex and nationwide.

Cat Smith – Lancaster and Fleetwood, Labour Party

Cat Smith bucked the trend for Labour on 7 May by claiming this tightly fought Lancashire seat from her Conservative rival with a majority of 1,248. Crucially, she placed the environment and opposition to fracking at the heart of her campaign. This is significant as Lancashire represents the front line in the fight against fracking, with a decision on whether it can take place there due later this month. Smith has already managed to put the prime minister on the spot and hopefully she’ll continue to ask difficult questions where fracking is concerned.

Mark Williams – Ceredigion, Liberal Democrats

Mark Williams survived his parties crushing result to remain MP for the rural Welsh constituency of Ceredigion. The result means he is the last Lib Dem MP left standing in Wales, where a moratorium on fracking has been in place since the beginning of the year. Williams was one of only a handful of coalition party MPs to vote for a nationwide moratorium back in January. By signing up to the Frack Free Promise he’s committed himself to continue his opposition to fracking nationally.

Liz Saville Roberts – Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru

By winning the Welsh seat of Dwyfor Meirionnydd Liz Saville Roberts became the first female Plaid Cymru MP. Her party’s championed the idea of a Welsh moratorium for a number of years. Now that this is in place in Wales we can expect her and her colleagues to raise difficult questions over the issue in England, particularly about the potential use of Welsh water for English fracking.

Stuart McDonald – Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch, Scottish National Party

The striking success of the SNP was on of the standout stories of the election. Stuart McDonald and his 55 colleagues are already making waves in parliament as they seek to position themselves as the real opposition force whilst Labour is distracted with its leadership election. The SNP spearheaded the Scottish moratorium and the anti-fracking cause is supported by figures such as Stuart McDonald, who has stated that “I will always stand shoulder to shoulder with local groups opposing proposals for unconventional gas extraction in this constituency.” Strong words that we hope he reiterates in the coming months.

Paul Maskey – Belfast West, Sinn Féin

Although Sinn Fein doesn't take its seat in the UK parliament, the Irish political party has been vocal in its opposition to fracking. Sein Fein president Gerry Adams stated that "fracking is a significant and dangerous threat to our countryside and to the environment," and with a moratorium already in place in Ireland, we're only likely to see the party's opposition continue.

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