Jacob Rees-Mogg and more senior Tory MPs slam PMs un-conservative energy bill

Craig Mackinley rails against government’s energy bill

The Government faced down a furious backbench rebellion this evening as top Tory MPs rounded on a new bill that could imprison Brits for transgressing against Net Zero.

The new flagship Energy Bill could lead to property owners being thrown in jail for up to 12 months if they fail to comply with new energy performance regulations.

Thanet South Tory MP Craig Mackinlay led the rebellion, saying “I absolutely despise this Bill”, and said that in his eight years in the Commons he has “rarely seen a Bill” like it.

The MP, who chairs the Net Zero Scrutiny Group in Parliament, spoke of an imaginary ‘Shawshank Redemption’-like scene in the future, where inmates are comparing the crimes that landed them behind bars.

“I can imagine the old lags in the future having a chat about why they are in prison.

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“One might say, ‘I’ve done benefit fraud—£50,000-worth—and I got six months.’ Another might say, ‘I had dangerous driving causing an injury—8 months.’ The businessman talking to them will say, ‘I had a very good business with 20 people working for me in a factory. They have all been put out of work. My business has closed and my family are on the street.’

“The others will say, ‘What on earth did you do, sir?’ and he will say, ‘I infringed an energy performance certificate, and I got 12 months.’”

Mr Mackinlay blasted the Government, accusing them of being un-conservative in their love of banning things.

“I could talk at length about what is wrong with the net zero proposals banning cars, banning oil boilers, banning this and banning that.

“That is not what we do as Conservatives. We actually allow freedoms. We allow the market to decide. The Bill goes in the wrong direction.”

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He was joined by Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, who also criticised the Government for allowing just three hours to debate a 427-page Bill.

Sir Jacob described the Bill as one of “creating cost, regulation, penalties and obligations”, and warned that such costs risks creating more enemies of the Net Zero project.

Tory veteran Sir John Redwood warned that the Bill will add costs and targets that “could turn out to be unrealistic and… self-defeating”.

Mr Mackinlay said communist China “will be pleased that it will be able to sell us more solar panels and wind turbines based on its steel, produced on the back of very cheap coal power”.

“That is what we are doing here: driving our high-energy businesses offshore. This is not a recipe for energy security; this is a recipe for energy disaster.”

10 Tory MPs voted against the bill, plus two former Tory independents. 62 Tory MPs failed to back the Government, including a number of known Net Zero sceptics.

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