Labour come under attack over “Dishonest” Fracking motion

Sefton Council’s controlling Labour group has come under attack for proposing a “dishonest” motion on fracking at Thursday’s council meeting held at Southport Town Hall.

Senior Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw condemned the motion, which was moved by Council leader Cllr Ian Maher, for giving the impression that Labour were opposed to fracking when, in actual fact, it said no such thing.

The Labour motion included the key phrase that “this council agrees to confirm its opposition to unconventional gas extraction” but then, in the small print, qualified this statement by adding “until such time as the Council is satisfied as to the safety and regulation of (fracking).”

“Labour’s dishonesty was exposed when they voted down an amendment put forward by the 4-strong Independent Group and supported by the Lib Dems”, explained Cllr Shaw.

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“The Independent amendment referred to ‘possible adverse impacts’ from fracking and called on the Government to ‘impose a moratorium on shale gas in the UK’, and yet the Labour councillors voted against that.”

In the council debate Cllr Shaw called on people to read what the Labour motion actually said, rather than what Labour wanted people to think it said.  He summarized it as saying that before granting planning permission for fracking Labour-controlled Sefton Council would need to be given clear evidence on four factors: (i) safety, (ii) regulation, (iii) proper mitigation of impacts and (iv) that any adverse risks are addressed.

“But those are what every planning authority would require to be done before granting planning permission for fracking.  The Labour motion is dishonest and is designed to persuade people that Labour are opposing fracking when they are doing no such thing.”


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