Ed Miliband’s Coal Mining Flip-Flop

This morning, Shadow BEIS Secretary Ed Miliband used his Andrew Marr appearance to rail against the new coal mine opening in Cumbria, saying it shouldn’t open as it undermines the UK’s ability to take a lead against climate change. Miliband’s tried a lot of rebranding over the last few years, however his coal outrage takes the biscuit, having lobbied on the industry’s behalf in parliament for over a decade:

  • October 2005: “Those who have traditionally thought that coal cannot be an answer to our energy needs should approach this question with an open mind. My constituents want coal to be given a chance in the forthcoming examination of energy policy”
  • July 2015, Miliband criticised the Government for not providing taxpayer subsidy to coal: “I find it frustrating when new nuclear is given a multi-billion-pound bill payer subsidy, but a few million more for a coal mine is seen as an option that either cannot be afforded or should not be entertained”
  • July 2015, Miliband criticised the Government for introducing the climate change levy after it led to the closure of a coal mine in his constituency: “The levying of the tax at point of sale rather than when the coal is burned means that the energy companies have an incentive to stockpile coal, and they did so in advance of April to avoid the higher levy. Companies had huge stockpiles of coal and orders at Hatfield dried up”
  • July 2015, Miliband claimed it was not “morally right” to push on with the early closure of coal mines: “The miners feel they have had the rug pulled from under them. I do not believe the decision makes economic or industrial sense, and nor is it morally right. I believe the Minister should think again”

Miliband now being considered one of Labour’s best media performers should be seen as the canary in the coal mine for the party’s election prospects…

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