Blocking all new North Sea oil and gas projects is 'absurd' and puts UK at 'behest of Putin' says Energy Secretary

19 July 2023, 11:34

As Just Stop Oil deface Energy Secretary's department, Tom quizzes him on oil and gas future

By Anna Fox

As Labour confirms plans to block all new North Sea oil and gas projects, Energy Minister Grant Shapps reveals the consequences.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was defaced by two Just Stop Oil activists who sprayed orange paint over the entrance.

Speaking to Tom Swarbrick as the events unfolded, Energy Secretary, Grant Shapps said: "It's illegal criminal damage, and I'll leave that to the authorities."

The campaign group noted the action was taken as the Department is responsible for "issuing over 100 new oil and gas licences in the UK".

Grant Shapps told Tom: "What worries me more about it is the same person who funds Just Stop Oil, Dale Vince, also funded a million and a half pounds so far to the Labour Party."

Appearing on the Nick Ferrari at Breakfast show in June, Dale Vince shared his contempt for the Conservative Party, stating: "They say all of the right things, but they do all the wrong things."

The Energy Secretary stated he believed Keir Starmer had "adopted Just Stop Oil's policy...which is to say there shouldn't be any more oil and gas licenses".

Continuing, he said: "Unless the Labour party and Keir Starmer are going to tell people to switch off their gas boilers and immediately stop driving petrol cars, they're going to have to import oil and gas and that's going to put us at the behest of people like Putin.

"And worse still, with twice the level of CO2 on that importation".

Mr Shapps stated that "Labour hadn't thought through their policies" deeming it a "danger to the welfare of every single person listening to the programme".

Replying, Tom said: "Well, if we're on the verge of this great industrial revolution, particularly in electric cars with the building of this new battery factory and everything that's going on in Europe, why would we need new oil and gas licenses, new oil exports?"

Mr Shapps referred to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), saying: "We need to reduce the amount of oil and gas by 4% a year globally, even with new licenses in the UK, all trajectory is a 7% per annum reduction and that's with the new licenses."

READ MORE: Moment furious motorist throws punch and kicks at Just Stop Oil protester in London street

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The Labour Party confirmed it would block all new domestic oil and gas developments if it wins power, proposing instead to invest heavily in renewable sources such as wind and also in nuclear power.

In retaliation to Labour's promises the Energy Secretary said: "The people are still going to be able to get around to doing their jobs in cars and petrol cars, and they have to heat their homes with gas.

"At the moment a transition cannot happen overnight.

Noting the consequences of a rapid disregard for oil and gas from Labour, Mr Shapps said: "Do it overnight and therefore cause considerable pain which they will only be able to resolve by importing that oil and gas."

READ MORE: Cabinet reshuffle 'could be imminent', says departing defence secretary Ben Wallace

The Labour Party's Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the country had to move towards more renewable sources of energy.

Mr Shapps deemed the policy as "absurd" adding: "Not only is it dangerous because it puts it at the behest of the next dictator like Putin, but also illogical because we import with that oil and gas twice as much carbon as comes from the domestic oil and gas."

Concluding, he said: "It really is incredibly poorly thought through. And I'm afraid that's what you get with Keir Starmer."

The Energy Secretary spoke to Tom Swarbrick as Tata, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, confirmed plans to build its flagship electric car battery factory in the UK.

The new plant in Somerset is anticipated to create 4,000 UK jobs and thousands more in the wider supply chain.

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