Boris rebellion explodes as backbenchers form alliance to scrap controversial plans

Nigel Farage discusses UK’s Net Zero targets

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The Prime Minister’s plans to slash the UK’s carbon output by 2050 are seen by many Tories as a way to please his wife, Carrie Johnson, who is a noted environmental campaigner. But with gas prices rising, Mr Johnson is facing pressure to scrap his plans by the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG).

NZSG member Robert Halfon, the former skills minister and current education committee chairman, lashed out at critics who accused the group of making the climate a culture war.

He told the Guardian: “Millions are now being hit desperately hard by the cost of living crisis with heating and fuel bills soaring.

“We cannot sacrifice any further their ability to cope on the altar of climate change.”

Speaking on Monday during a heated discussion about Mrs Johnson’s influence over the Prime Minister, Daily Mail columnist Andrew Pierce claimed: “I think we are going mad for this rush to net zero and she is a lot to do with that.

“People who are struggling with their electric and gas bills this year, that is before the cap is lifted and their bills go up seven hundred pounds, when they look at their bills they will see 25-percent of it is green taxes.”

Mr Pierce instead argued the Government “should be suspending” the taxes before adding “but Carrie is very much part of that woke agenda, green comes first!”

On Wednesday, Mr Johnson shot down Jacob Rees-Mogg during a Cabinet meeting after suggesting that fracking for shale gas should be permitted.

Mr Rees-Mogg is believed to have raised fracking as a way to make the UK more self-sufficient.

Fracking is an environmental disaster as it uses huge amounts of water that must be transported to the site.

There are also concerns that potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.

The Government halted the process in England back in 2019 following a number of confrontations between shale gas companies and communities.

There are also fresh calls for the Government to exploit hundreds of oil and gas wells in the North Seas.

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According to Government figures, there are around ten and 20 billion barrels of oil under the sea.

This is enough to cover a significant proportion of the UK’s energy needs for two to three decades.

Industry groups have warned UK gas production will fall by three-quarters by 2030, putting the nation’s energy security at risk.

Ofgem’s chief executive, Jonathan Brearley, warned wholesale gas prices are volatile and it is impossible to make any firm predictions.

He said: “When you look at the forward prices right now, there is upward pressure in prices still, so you may see a rise in October.

“It is really hard to say what the price cap will be if Russia invades Ukraine, but…you would see significant rises again in the price that people pay.

“We are not experts in geo-politics but we expect that if Russia invades Ukraine – there is a sanctions regime and that Russia limits gas supplies to Europe.

“That would drive high price rises and that would ultimately feed through to customers.”

Mr Rees-Mogg is not the first minister to call for more domestic gas production.

Last week, one Cabinet minister told the Telegraph Britain “should not be running towards net-zero so aggressively” with the “most aggressive targets in the world”.

They said: “We’ve stigmatised gas and that’s wrong.

“Gas has to be part of the answer.”

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