Chris Skidmore, Tory ex-minister and Net Zero tsar, to resign as MP due to disagreement with Rishi Sunak over supporting new oil and gas drilling

Former Tory Minister Chris Skidmore Resigns in Protest Against Government’s Oil and Gas Drilling Support

Former Conservative minister Chris Skidmore has announced his decision to step down from Parliament in protest against the government’s endorsement of new oil and gas drilling.

As the former Net Zero tsar and a prominent advocate for environmental issues, Skidmore has been critical of the government’s perceived lack of urgency in addressing climate change.

Skidmore’s Opposition to Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill

Skidmore specifically criticized the Prime Minister’s Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, designed to pave the way for increased oil and gas exploration in UK waters.

The bill, scheduled to progress through Parliament, has prompted Skidmore to take a stance against it.

Despite previously revealing his intention to resign at the next election, Skidmore now plans to expedite his departure, presenting the government with an unexpected by-election challenge.

Concerns Over Environmental Impact and Fossil Fuel Production

In a statement shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Skidmore expressed his opposition to the Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, emphasizing its potential implications.

The former energy minister, instrumental in enacting the UK’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, highlighted his refusal to support a bill that facilitates the production of new fossil fuels.

Resignation from Party Whip and Call for Constituency Representation

Skidmore declared his resignation from the party whip, citing his desire to be free from any party-political allegiance.

He underscored the importance of allowing his constituents in Kingswood, Gloucestershire, the opportunity to elect a new Member of Parliament.

The decision to step down is expected to coincide with Parliament’s return from the Christmas break.

Warning to Supporting MPs and Future Environmental Judgment

Skidmore issued a warning to fellow MPs poised to vote in favor of the bill, asserting that history would judge them harshly.

He lamented the perceived loss of the UK’s climate leadership and stressed the urgency of committing to more climate action instead of promoting future fossil fuel production.

Support from Opposition and Criticism of Conservative Policies

Labour’s shadow climate change minister, Ed Miliband, commended Skidmore for taking a stand against the Conservative government’s policies.

Miliband criticized the government’s attempt to expand fossil fuel usage, characterizing it as irresponsible, reckless, and detrimental to both energy security and the global climate.

In the face of these developments, Skidmore’s resignation adds to the challenges the Conservative Party faces, particularly with upcoming by-elections in other constituencies they previously held.

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