Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil grilled Prime Minister David Cameron on his Government’s actions on energy and climate change at the first meeting of the House of Commons Liaison Committee at Westminster on Tuesday.
This was the first time an SNP MP had ever questioned the Prime Minister in this format and Mr MacNeil spent more than ten minutes pushing Mr Cameron for answers on a variety of issues including the UK’s ability to meet energy targets under current ever-changing policies.
Mr MacNeil sits on this committee due to his role as Chair of the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.
He questioned Mr Cameron’s statement that climate change targets would be met under current policies while at the same time keeping people’s energy bills down.
He highlighted that onshore wind was one of the cheapest options for the Government but that subsidies for the sector had been drastically cut. He also pointed out that a u-turn on a £1billion investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) which was once described as ‘absolutely crucial’ in tackling climate change and supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, gave the impression of a lack of vision.
Mr MacNeil said: “It looks like one arm of the government doesn’t know what the other arm is doing.
“Who is pulling the strings to scrap CCS despite what the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had said a month earlier (in submission to Committee).”
Mr MacNeil questioned the Prime Minister’s figures and said that the lack of support for onshore wind projects and abandoning CCS did not add up to meeting targets and lowering household bills.
Mr Cameron said he was confident that the energy mix being pursued by the UK Government would meet the objectives set out at the Climate Change Conference in Paris in December (COP21).
Mr MacNeil also asked Mr Cameron to concede to investigate claims by independent sources that 82 civilians had been killed by UK forces in Iraq when previously the Ministry of Defence position was that they would only investigate when the the MoD itself reported that civilians had been killed.
Mr MacNeil said that this was a ‘strange state of affairs’.
The Liaison Committee is due to meet with the Prime Minister again later this year.