Cumbria MP Neil Hudson explains vote against fracking ban

Dr Neil Hudson MP said he was disappointed that the government intended to treat the vote as a confidence motion in the government. Credit: UK Parliament

A Cumbrian MP has explained his decision to vote against Labour's motion to ban fracking despite opposing the "retrograde and environmentally-damaging" practice.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and the Border last night voted along with his Conservative party to oppose the plan to guarantee parliamentary time for a bill to ban fracking.

Through a statement released this morning, Mr Hudson said: "I have always stated both in public and personal correspondence to constituents that I believe fracking is a retrograde and environmentally-damaging practice that I oppose wholeheartedly.

"I do not think it is a practical solution to our energy security crisis brought forth by the war in Ukraine and I will continue to make representations to the Government to this effect."

Dr Hudson said his decision to vote against the motion despite his personal opposition to fracking was based on maintaining his position as a Conservative MP and as a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

He said: "I was deeply disappointed to hear that the Prime Minister intended to treat the vote last night as a confidence motion in the Government. Put simply, to vote against the Government would have meant losing the whip and being removed from the party I have spent the past 20 years striving so hard to champion.

"Not maintaining my position on the committee would jeopardise critical work I’ve been responsible for on vital issues such as the UK’s food security, farming, rural mental health and maintaining agricultural and animal welfare standards in new international trade deals.

The MP, who was elected to his seat in 2019, said he believed the opposition motion was not about fracking but about confidence in the government.

He added: "I can be a much stronger advocate for my constituents as a Government MP, championing their causes, accessing ministers, influencing policy and securing change for our communities.

"I humbly ask for your continued patience and understanding that I am doing everything within my means to try to make sure fracking does not start up again in the UK and I will continue to make this case to Government."

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