Michael Fallon

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Michael Fallon

Michael Fallon (born 1952) has been the British member of Parliament for Sevenoaks since 1997. Since 2010 he has held several ministerial positions in energy, business and defence.

Fallon was UK defence secretary for three years from July 2014 following a cabinet reshuffle[1] until his resignation in November 2017 when sexual allegation claims against him emerged.

Fallon was business minister from September 2012 at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)[2] minister of state for energy in the Department of Energy and Climate Change from 2013, stepping down from this dual role in the Cabinet reshuffle of July 2014.

Fallon was appointed deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in September 2010 and a Privy Counsellor in 2012. [3]

Nuclear activities

Regular nuclear meetings

Nuclear spin.png This article is part of the Nuclear Spin project of Spinwatch.
After his appointment as energy minister Fallon spent much time getting acquainted with key nuclear players. In February and July 2013 he attended the high-level Nuclear Industry Council meetings chaired by John Hutton, nuclear industry lobbyist and former energy minister under Labour. EDF Energy's Vincent de Rivaz was among those present at the second meeting.

Then in May 2013, Fallon met separately to 'discuss 'energy policy' with EDF Energy's lobbyists Bellenden, pro-nuclear lobbying group Energy UK and Energy North, as well as key firms Horizon and Hitachi. No further details were provided. In June 2013 his 'energy policy' and 'introductory' meetings included other firms with nuclear interests namely Toshiba, E.ON and China National Nuclear Corporation. [4]

Russian deal

In September 2013 at meeting with the Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom Director General, Sergey Kirienko, Fallon signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for Rosatom, Finnish utility Fortum and the UK's Rolls-Royce to jointly explore building and operating VVER nuclear power plants in the UK. The three firms will prepare a VVER reactor generic design assessment and assess opportunities for licensing of a nuclear power plant construction site in the UK. Rosatom’s VVER reactors currently operate in 11 countries. World Nuclear News reported that,

Fallon said that he welcomed the agreements signed by the three companies, adding that all reactor technologies adopted in the UK must meet the “stringent and independent” regulatory standards required in the UK and the EU.

EDF Hinkley deal

Fallon has played a key role in the Government's torturous negotiations with EDF Energy to agree an electricity 'strike price' for the French nuclear firm to move ahead on its Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project.

In October 2013 Fallon defended the Coalition's decision to guarantee the price for each megawatt hour of power produced by Hinkley at £92.50, four times as much as originally proposed by EDF when the project was first mooted, and twice today's wholesale prices. Nuclear power stations, he told The Daily Telegraph, will ultimately prove a cheaper and less controversial alternative than wind power.

This is the first in a wave of new nuclear plants to replace the ageing fleet that Labour did nothing to tackle. Without new nuclear local people would face many thousands more wind farms blighting our landscape. By contrast, nuclear power is popular in areas that have existing stations and will deliver significant jobs and investment. [5]

The much-criticised deal however still needs to be reviewed under the European Commission's state aid rules, which could take another 12 months. But if given the go-ahead, EDF Energy will earn billions of pounds of income, effectively from the UK taxpayer.

Defence activities

Hospitality disclosures

In February 2017 Fallon in his role as defence secretary of state dined with leading arms firms Raytheon and Airbus under the auspices of the Atlantic Council'. [6]

In April 2017 Fallon and his armed forces minister Mike Penning attended the Army v Navy rugby match at the invitation of Babcock; he met the CEO of Babcock, Archie Bethel, and John Spencer, the President of the RFU.[7]

Fracking

FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

Fallon has been a critical player in the Coalition government's push to go 'all-out for shale gas'.

In answer to a written question to the House of Commons on 12 June 2014 about how many (a) officials and (b) Ministers in Fallon's Department have visited Lancashire for purposes related to fracking since 2010. Fallon said:

I and a number of my officials have made a number of visits to Lancashire in relation to fracking gas operations and are regularly in touch with a number of stakeholders in the region.
On 24 April I took part in a conference organised by the North West Energy Taskforce and the two Lancashire Chambers of Commerce in order to highlight to Lancashire business the potential opportunities from successful fracking gas development. [8]

UK Shale Conference 2014

Fallon delivered a speech to the UK Shale Conference organised by the North West Energy Taskforce and the two Lancashire Chambers of Commerce, which he attended. In it, he spoke of the 'importance of energy security' and the need for a diverse energy mix, which means 'exploiting the full use of technologies from renewables to CCS, from nuclear to shale gas and shale oil'.


'The benefits to the UK of using homegrown shale are clear – we can:
Displace a proportion of gas imports – increasing resilience and energy security.
Benefit in terms of jobs, tax revenues and growth, mitigating some of the falling revenues from the North Sea. EY’s recent supply chain report found that industry could support around 64,000 direct and induced jobs.
And control the carbon emissions created by production inside our carbon budgets.'

Fallon summarized what the government had done to push for shale gas extraction since 2013:

'In December we published the Regulatory Roadmap setting out the robust regulatory framework in place for exploration.
In addition, in response to the Mackay Stone report on emissions, the Environment Agency has agreed to make green completions a requirement of environmental permits for shale gas production.
We have also published environmental risk assessment guidance for operators to assess risks at an early stage in line with the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report.
We have also have clarified and streamlined the regulation of exploration activity. The Environment Agency has developed a single application form for permits. We will introduce standard rules environmental permits later this year cutting permitting times from 13 weeks to 2- 4 weeks for lower risk activities.
Industry has committed to a community benefits package that will pay £100,000 to communities per hydraulically fractured well site at exploration and 1% of revenue if the site proceeds to production.
Local councils will also benefit by retaining 100% of the business rates they collect from productive shale gas and shale oil developments - doubling the 50% rate retention previously given. That could be worth up to £1.7m a year for a typical 12 well site.
In the Autumn Statement 2013, we introduced the most competitive tax regime in Europe for shale gas and shale oil.
We’ve announced 2 million pounds public money to support companies looking to develop innovative processes for shale exploration or production, to help UK firms develop products and services in this new sector. All of these steps will encourage the responsible development of shale gas and oil.'


He also announced the new proposal drafted by the government in 2014:

'There are three elements to the proposal: a right of underground access below 300m for shale and deep geothermal companies, a community payment in return for access and a notification system for the community,
Allowing underground access at depths below 300m can have no impact on landowners – this is a six-inch hole, ten times the depth of the deepest tube platform. We expect fracking to take place over a mile down.' [9]

Interview on Fracking

Fallon gave a television interview in January 2014 to the BBC on the subject of fracking, where he praised the use of shale gas extraction.

Dinner with lobbyists

The Black and White Ball 2014

A seating plan of the Conservative Party's Black and White Ball, in February 2014, was leaked to the Guardian in October 2014. The party, which guests pay between £450 and £1000 for a ticket, seats diners with the minister most relevant to them. The report revealed that whilst energy minister, Fallon dined with Alexander Temerko, a director of Offshore Group Newcastle, a firm which supplies the offshore renewable energy industry. Joining Fallon and Temerko at the table were James Wharton and Alun Cairns, who are MPs of constituencies where the offshore wind farms have been proposed and have both benefited from donations directly from Temerko. [10] Other guests at the table included Shore Capital's CEO David Kaye and Simon Fine.

The Black and White Ball 2015

On 9 February 2015, Fallon attended the Conservative Party's 'Black and White Ball' election fundraiser at the Grosvenor Hotel in London. The event was attended by almost the entire Cabinet, Boris Johnson and George Osborne did not attend due to the G20 event, and by party donors including; hedge fund boss Stanley Fink (Lord Fink), who wants Britain to rival offshore tax havens with an equally generous tax regime; founder of Lycamobile, who paid no corporation tax between 2007 and 2014 despite generating millions in revenue, Subaskaran Allirajah; jewellery tycoon Ranbir Singh Suri and lap dancing club owner Peter Stringfellow.

One Tory donor told the Guardian he had been told if he bought a 'premium table at the event for £15,000 he would expect the company of a cabinet minister' and if 'he paid £5,000 for a standard table, he would expect a junior minister'.

To raise additional money at the event, the Party sold one-off prizes. These included dinner at home with Michael Gove and his wife, shoe shopping with Theresa May, a meal at the Carlton Club with Sajid Javid and a session of jogging with Nicky Morgan.[11]

Background

Fallon was born in Scotland, and educated at Epsom College.

Fallon is a graduate of St Andrews University (MA Honours) and began his political career as MP for Darlington from 1983-1992. He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt.Hon. Cecil Parkinson, Secretary of State for Energy from 1987 to 1988 when he became a Government Whip. In 1990 he joined Margaret Thatcher's Government as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education (Schools Minister), and continued to serve under John Major.
Between 1992 and 1997 he developed his business career as a director of three companies founded by Dragons Den star Duncan Bannatyne before returning to Parliament in 1997. He served as a shadow Treasury Minister under William Hague before joining the Treasury Select Committee of which he was deputy chairman from 2001 until 2010. [12]

Staff

Special advisers

Electoral majorities

In the 2015 general election, Fallon retained his seat with a strong majority of 19,561.

ACOBA approvals 2018

Affiliations


Publications

Resources

See: Fracking Spads

Contact

Address:Sevenoaks Conservatives, Becket House, Vestry Road, Sevenoaks, TN14 5EL
Email: office@sevenoakstory.org.uk /
Website: http://www.sevenoaksconservatives.org

Notes

  1. Ministerial appointments: July 2014, Prime Minister's Office, 15 July 2014.
  2. Michael Fallon becomes business minister, The Telegraph, September 2012, acc 5 September 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 About Michael, Michael Fallon's website, acc 3 April 2012
  4. DECC, Quarterly information April - June 2013 Meetings with external organisations (including meetings with Newspaper and other Media proprietors, editors and senior Executives), published date, acc 31 October 2013
  5. Steve Swinford, [1], The Telegraph, 21 October 2013, acc 1 November 2013
  6. Ministers Hospitality, gov.uk, released 30 June 2017, accessed 18 September 2017
  7. Hansard, Ministry of Defence: Official Hospitality: Written question - 112330 -Asked by Jon Trickett(Hemsworth) on: 10 November 2017, parliament.uk, last accessed 26 March 2018
  8. House of Commons ref link xxxx
  9. Speech: UK Shale Conference, UK Government, 24 June 2014, accessed 23 December 2016.
  10. Simon Goodley, Melanie Newman and Nick Mathiason Tycoons mix with top Tories at fundraising ball in London The Guardian, 12 October 2014, accessed 14 October 2014
  11. Rajeev Syal and Rowena Mason Conservative donors pay up to £15,000 for table at election fundraiser The Guardian, 9 February 2015, accessed 11 February 2015
  12. Michael Fallon, MP, Conservatives.com, accessed 15 May 2012
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Register of interests of members' secretaries and research assistants, parliament.uk, accessed 20 April 2016
  14. dates needed
  15. Register of interests of members' secretaries and research assistants, parliament.uk, accessed 20 April 2016
  16. ACOBA, Letter to Michael Fallon from the chair, January 2018, published 7 February 2018
  17. House of Commons, Register of MP's Financial Interests, as of 6 September 2010
  18. House of Commons, Register of MP's Financial Interests, as of (date)
  19. House of Common MPs Register of Financial Interests