‘Poker face lets me down’ jokes Lancaster MP after Jacob Rees Mogg gives ‘unhinged response’ in Parliament fracking row

Eyebrows were raised in the House of Commons today when Lancaster MP Cat Smith tackled the new business secretary Jacob Rees Mogg over fracking.
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Ms Smith received an unexpected response from Mr Rees Mogg when she highlighted Lancashire’s strong opposition to drilling into the earth to release shale gas.

“It appears that the only person who believes that fracking will lower our gas prices is the Secretary of State, Jacob Rees Mogg,” Ms Smith told members of the House of Commons.

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“It's certainly not backed up by anyone in the industry, and there's no question over the environmentally damaging nature of fracking.”

Cat Smith.Cat Smith.
Cat Smith.

Ms Smith went on the say: “One thing I think the Secretary of State is perhaps not aware of is the strength of opposition to fracking in communities like mine in Lancashire, where sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre have seen huge police presence just to manage the protesting.”

The MP again stressed ‘there is no public support for fracking".

In response, Mr Rees Mogg told Ms Smith that "there have been stories widely reported that some of the opposition to fracking has been funded by Mr Putin's regime.”

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Ms Smith’s surprised reaction has been widely shared on social media.

“Sometimes my poker face lets me down,” quipped Ms Smith, “but to be honest, what an unhinged response from the Secretary of State.

"My inbox is virtually overflowing with the numbers of people writing to me to voice their horror at the government’s decision to un-ban fracking.

"Is Mr Rees Mogg suggesting all of my constituents are being paid by the Russians to cause a bit of trouble?”

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Five months ago the now Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng told MPs “fracking in England would take years of exploration and development before commercial quantities of gas could be produced and would certainly have no effect on prices in the near term.”

Ms Smith said: "What’s changed since then? We now have an energy policy run for big fossil fuel interests not for the British people.

“No to the windfall tax and yes to dangerous, unsafe fracking. Fracking is a dangerous fantasy - it would do nothing to cut energy bills, it costs far more than renewables, it is unsafe and it is deeply unpopular with the public.”

"The Conservatives have broken yet another manifesto promise, this time on banning fracking. If the Conservatives cared about cheaper energy and energy security they would back Labour’s clean energy sprint for home-grown renewable power.”