New by-election

Tory MP quits over party’s ‘failure on oil and gas’

Chris Skidmore: the future will judge us harshly (pic: Conservative party)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces another by-election after former energy minister Chris Skidmore resigned from the Tories over the party’s plans to boost North Sea oil and gas drilling.

Mr Skidmore, who led a government review of net zero, said he would stand down from his seat after launching a scathing attack on Mr Sunak’s environmental record.

The MP for Kingswood in South Gloucestershire said the “future will judge harshly” anyone who backs the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill which comes before the Commons on Monday.

He said he could not vote for legislation that “clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas” and would show the UK is “rowing ever further back from its climate commitments”.

“To fail to act, rather than merely speak out, is to tolerate a status quo that cannot be sustained,” he said in his resignation statement.

Mr Skidmore said he would resign the Conservative whip to make him an independent and quit as an MP “as soon as possible”.

Scottish Green Co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “In taking this stand Chris Skidmore has exposed the reckless climate wrecking hypocrisy at the heart of a Tory government that claims to care about our environment while fighting to extract every last drop of fossil fuels.

“Skidmore’s departure makes it all the more noticeable that despite trying to maintain a veneer of climate rhetoric, no Scottish Tory MSP has ever taken such a principled stance.”

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