Scottish Lib Dems back ban on fracking amid accusations of hypocrisy

Nathanael Williams

Party fiercely debated on whether to ban fracking as member’s questions “competing scientific facts.”

THE SCOTTISH LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have supported a motion to ban fracking at their party’s autumn conference in Dunfermline this morning [Saturday 12 November].

Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, came under attack from young activists and members during the debating of the motion, who described the tabling of the motion as “hypocritical.”

In February of this year, delegates at the spring conference passed an amendment to end the Scottish government's moratorium on the controversial energy capture, despite campaigning for the Holyrood elections for a ban. This was attacked by party followers and opponents such as the Greens as a U-turn.

“The reason given for this U-turn by Willie Rennie was like this motion, spurious and hypocritical.” Euan Hoyle

Ewan Hoyle, a party delegate from Glasgow, speaking against the motion forwarded by Rennie said: “To be honest conference I am disappointed that this motion has been raised again. Especially when the issue was resolved at an earlier conference.

“The reason given for this other U-turn by Willie Rennie is like this motion, spurious and hypocritical.”

Hoyle, along with a number of members, had tabled what amounted to a pro-fracking amendment citing a 2014 UK Government fracking report which suggested that onshore fracking would have a “neutral effect” on the climate situation.

The arguments made by its advocates were that the science was not conclusive, green groups such as Friends of the Earth (FoE) had made “debatable claims” and that the lower fuel prices from fracking could help poorer people in countries such as India and Bangladesh. The amendment was defeated when the delegates were asked to vote.

“In May we ran on a platform that fracking should have no place in Scotland and the vote today confirms that we will continue to make that case.” Willie Rennie

In response to the accusations and the vote, party leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “I welcome the party coming together to endorse my motion and oppose fracking on climate change grounds.

“In May we ran on a platform that fracking should have no place in Scotland and the vote today confirms that we will continue to make that case.”

The North East Fife MSP added: “While the indications are that the Scottish Government is heading towards a ban, publicly at least it remains nailed to the fence. If the SNP is serious about tackling climate change, ministers must join the Scottish Liberal Democrats in unequivocally ruling out fracking.”

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