“Shock” at Jenrick Coal Mine Inquiry Announcement

An MP has told Guido how he and his colleagues were given no forewarning by Robert Jenrick before he announced his department was going to intervene in the Cumbria coal mine project and order a fresh public inquiry. The intervention is seen by red wall MPs as the government bowing to niche, interest group public pressure, with Workington MP Mark Jenkinson last night telling the Tory MP WhatsApp group the Secretary of State has “bowed to climate terrorists”. Whatever happened to not negotiating with terrorists…

The cancellation of the project could see a loss of £165 million of private investment into the area; and adding to the political embarrassment of the intervention, Boris’s own PPS Trudy Harrison was set to be the coal mine’s constituency MP. It now appears Harrison doesn’t intend to quit as the PM’s PPS…

Away from the immediate reaction, Mark Jenkinson now tells Guido the inquiry may provide one upside insofar as the debate will now be taken away from the fraught, partisan one seen so far. The now-scuppered timing of the massive project may pull the rug from underneath the project given its private investment funding. Jenkinson also told Guido of his “shock” hearing the announcement, as he got no prior warning about the intervention, and given the process is now quasi-judicial it’ll be very difficult for him and his colleagues to now level questions at Jenrick. Not least “does the government think it’s more environmental to import coal from China rather than mining it here?”

The government needs to decide if Britain is going to be a high-value manufacturing nation or not, the pandemic showed the dangers of having little or no manufacturing capability in strategic areas. De-carbonising the economy will kill energy intensive industries dead to the benefit of China and Asia. This is pretty disastrous for the government’s promised leveling up agenda, with Jenkinson’s inbox overwhelmingly pro-mine, as well as his Facebook. At the moment he doesn’t believe this is just the government laying the groundwork to eventually u-turn and cancel the project, though Guido smells a rat…

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mdi-account-multiple-outline Mark Jenkinson Robert Jenrick
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