Ed Miliband criticises Jacob Rees-Mogg over lifting fracking ban

Ed Miliband has torn into Jacob Rees-Mogg over his controversial decision to lift the ban on fracking.

Fracking is a method where water, sand and chemicals are blasted deep underground in order to release the oil or gas trapped within the rock.

A ban on the technique came into force in 2019 after green groups expressed concerns about the environmental impacts of fracking such as risking water, air and sound pollution along with induced seismicity (minor earthquakes or tremors).

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So the recent decision to reverse this ban amid the current surge in energy costs has proven to be an unpopular one.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the shadow secretary of state for climate change and net zero didn't hold back in his criticism of the new business secretary where he argued that fracking would not cut energy bills.

"The current chancellor said so in February of this year, and I quote, ‘No amount of shale gas would be enough to lower the European price of gas,'" Miliband said.

"Even the founder of Cuadrilla said the secretary of state was wrong in an article published yesterday.

"So first, why doesn’t [Rees-Mogg] admit the truth, that anyone who knows anything about this subject says his claim that fracking will cut bills is nonsense."

Miliband then referred to the Tory Party's 2019 manifesto which stipulated they would only lift the fracking ban if it could be done safely.

"I look forward to [Rees-Mogg] and his colleagues explaining his charter for earthquakes to the people of Lancashire, Yorkshire, the Midlands, Sussex, Dorset and indeed Somerset [that they] will be part of his dangerous experiment," Miliband said.

"Let me tell the party opposite, we will hang this broken promise around their necks in every part of the country between now and the next general election."

He continued: "The truth is, [Rees-Mogg] doesn’t get this, that you can’t escape a fossil fuels crisis by doubling down on fossil fuels. Renewables are today nine times cheaper than gas.

"The only way to cut energy bills with energy security is with zero-carbon, home-grown power, including onshore wind and solar, which his wing of the Conservative party hate and he continues to block."

The former Labour leader has been praised on Twitter for passionately getting his point across and articulately holding Rees-Mogg to account.

In response, Rees-Mogg said allowing fracking was "good common sense"

"It is safe, it is shown to be safe, the scare stories have been disproved time and time again. The hysteria about seismic activity fails to understand that the Richter scale is a logarithmic scale. It seems to think that it is a straight arithmetic scale, which of course it is not.

"Bringing on this supply will bring us cheaper energy, which we need …

"This is is of such importance, and it is sheer ludditery that opposes it," he concluded - though Tory MPs expressed concerns around there being local consent for fracking to take place.

Rees-Mogg then suggested that some of the groups opposing fracking were funded by Russia.

"I’m well aware that there have been objections to fracking, but I would also note that there have been stories widely reported that some of the opposition to ... fracking has been funded by Mr Putin’s regime," he said.

This prompted Miliband to take to Twitter where he described this comment from Rees-Mogg as an "absolutely outrageous slur" as well as "shameful and disgraceful."

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