MP challenges Business Secretary to axe Cumbrian mine plans after COP26 coal failure
On the floor of the House of Commons today, local MP Tim Farron urged ministers to finally pull the plug on plans to build a new deep coal mine in Cumbria.
It comes after a dramatic last minute intervention from India and China to weaken a global agreement to phase out coal on the final day of the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Speaking during Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Questions in Parliament this morning, Tim said: "The Government is still sitting on the fence about the new coal mine in West Cumbria.
"Given the incredibly disappointing outcome when it came to coal at COP26, isn't this a moment for the UK Government to take a lead and say that the coal mine will not now open?"
Responding, the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: "Firstly, he will understand that the coal mine is an independent planning decision.
"Secondly, I completely deny his assertion that somehow COP26 was a failure. It wasn't. It was a great success thanks to my right honourable friend and huge commitments were made, which everyone is supporting."
Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "Once again the Government are embarrassingly dodging this issue, claiming that it's not their decision.
"In reality it will be Michael Gove - a Conservative minister - who has the final say on the Cumbrian coal mine.
"So if the Government really did believe that we should, in the words of the Prime Minister, 'consign coal to history', then they could pull the plug on this mine today."