Liz Truss disagrees with Jacob Rees-Mogg calling opponents of fracking 'luddites'
Indy

A government vote on fracking ended up causing more chaos for Liz Truss's government last night - as if she needed any more.

The government defeated a Labour motion to force through a new law banning fracking by 326 to 230 but 40 MPs rebelled against their party, despite there being three-line whip - basically politics talk for the government trying to do its utmost to get MPs to support it.

Fracking was banned in 2019 over concerns it leads to earth tremors but Truss lifted the ban, breaking a Tory party 2019 manifesto promise by doing so. Labour used the vote to give MPs the opportunity to overturn the decision.

But earlier in the day whips wrote to MPs to warn that the vote was being seen as a confidence measure in the government, meaning it would collapse if it lost.

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Despite that, 40 MPs either didn't vote due to other circumstances or ignored the whip's warning and voted against the government.

Ruth Edwards, for instance, said the government was forcing her and colleagues “to choose between voting against our manifesto and voting to lose the whip”.

She added: “They should take a look at the faces of colleagues behind them, colleagues who have fracking sites in their constituencies, and they should hang their heads in shame. A Conservative government will always have my confidence, but its leadership today has severely tested my trust and the trust of many colleagues and I would advise them not to do so again.”

And former energy minister Chris Skidmore tweeted:

More people who voted against the government include William Wragg, who yesterday revealed he had submitted a letter of no-confidence in the PM, and Kwasi Kwarteng, who was recently sacked as chancellor by the PM.

Nadine Dorries, Priti Patel and Theresa May also voted against the government, as did defence minister Ben Wallace.

The icing on the s**tshow cake? According to The Guardian, Truss did vote but forgot to swipe her pass, meaning it was not recorded.

If that wasn't chaotic enough, shortly after the vote, there were reports that the chief whip, Wendy Morton, and her deputy, Craig Whittaker, had lost their jobs. However, Downing Street later said the pair “remain in post”.

Meanwhile, there were reports of bullying and harassment permeating the parliamentary air too. Labour MP Chris Bryant used a point of order to tell the Commons that he saw Tory MPs being “physically manhandled” into the government voting lobby. He asked for a formal investigation.

Today, he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was "very aggressive, very angry", describing it as "clear bullying and intimidation".

"I saw a whole swathe of MPs effectively pushing one member straight through the door. I've seen photographic evidence of one MP's hand on another," he said.

"I have never seen scenes like that. All of this is happening because there is complete chaos in government."

He added that Tory MPs, including one whip, were "literally crying on my shoulder".

For fracks sake.

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