Labour Party (UK)

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Stance on fracking

2016 fracking ban announcement

In September 2016, shadow energy and climate secretary Barry Gardiner announced that a future Labour government would impose a national ban on fracking, the controversial method of extracting gas from rocks. The move was widely welcomed by green campaigners and local resident groups threatened by the industry across the UK. [1]

The party's position had previously been inconsistent or unclear. In February 2015, a majority of Labour MPs abstained from a vote on an amendment for a moratorium on fracking, recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee. The amendment was not approved and voted down by 302 votes to 52 against a moratorium.[2] Labour did table a series of other amendments on the conditions that should be met before shale gas exploration can take place, but they were voted down in the House of Lords.[3]

Labour's 2015 general election manifesto showed support for a regulated fracking industry, pledging to 'establish a robust environmental and regulatory regime before extraction can take place. And to safeguard the future of the offshore oil and gas industry, we will provide a long-term strategy for the [fracking] industry, including more certainty on tax rates and making the most of the potential for carbon storage.' [4]


30 July 2019 via Twitter

In July 2019, the Labour Party released its analysis showing that fracking, if it goes ahead in Britain, would stop the country reaching a net zero target for carbon emissions by 2050.

On 30 July leader Jeremy Corbyn visited campaigners protesting outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool and repeated his call for the government and incoming PM Boris Johnson) to ban fracking:

“We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and that means the prime minister immediately banning fracking once and for all.
“Instead of bending the knee to a few corporations who profit from extracting fossil fuels from the ground, we need to change course now. It’s the next generation and the world’s poorest who will pay the price if this Conservative government continues to put the interests of a few polluters ahead of people.” [5]

Corbyn also commented that Johnson's current short-term focus on climate and fracking and his close ties with US president Donald Trump were a disaster risk for the planet.

“...unless there is a real intervention by government on fracking, on measurements of emissions on aircraft and shipping … then we are deluding ourselves that we are actually adhering to climate change targets.
“Since he [Johnson] has no plans to do anything to protect it and is closely aligned with Donald Trump who claims that the Paris climate change accords are a danger to the American economy and that is a kind of signal to other industrial economies … well your short-term economic interests come ahead of the longer-term environmental issues.” [6]

Industry response

In response, the fracking industry resorted to its oft-cited argument of the need for Britain to develop homegrown gas and stop relying on gas imports, including from places such as Qatar and Russia. Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan said:

“I am very disappointed that Labour appear to favour continued and increasing levels of gas imports by ship from the Middle East, Africa or the United States or by pipeline from Russia rather than developing a well-regulated job creating UK shale gas industry.

UKOOG, the trade lobby group for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, released a press statement saying Labour 'can't have it both ways - we either offshore our emissions or back UK industry'

"We will still need natural gas in 2050. It's better that we source it from home, creating fewer emissions and more UK jobs and investment, than rely on the likes of Qatar, Russia and the US to meet our demand." [7]

Political communications

Brown era

The first year of the Gordon Brown's term as Prime Minister coincided with a 16% rise in the cost of government advertising, marketing and publicity. Government advertising attracted particular controversy in 2009, when the Home Office, according to a Select Committee on Communications report, "abused the marketing funds by funding newspapers [sic.] advertisements on police during the local elections “purdah” period, mirroring the Labour Party’s own campaigning."[8]

The report said there had also been an historic trend of COI advertising strangely rising just before an expected general election.[8]

Central Office of Information spending on public relations, marketing and advertising in 2007-8 cost £391 million a year, more than three times the rate that Labour inherited.

COI Spending £

  • 1997–98 £111 million
  • 1998–99 £173 million
  • 1999–00 £200 million
  • 2000–01 £295 million
  • 2001–02 £273 million
  • 2002–03 £267 million
  • 2003–04 £317 million
  • 2004–05 £343 million
  • 2005–06 £322 million
  • 2006–07 £338 million
  • 2007–08 £391 million

Associated organisatons

Partner organisations

Thinks tanks and lobby groups



  1. Adam Vaughan, Labour government would ban fracking in UK, The Guardian, 26 September 2016, accessed 24 October 2016.
  2. Fracking moratorium rejected by MPs, BBC News, 26 January 2015, accessed 15 September 2016
  3. Damian Carrington, Fracking will be allowed under national parks, UK decides, The Guardian, 12 February 2015, accessed 27 October 2016.
  4. Ben Lucas, The General Election and Fracking – What do the Manifestos Say?, DESMOGUK, 17 April 2015, accessed 27 October 2016.
  5. Mikey Smith, Jeremy Corbyn demands Boris Johnson stop 'bending the knee' and ban fracking, The Mirror, 29 July 2019, accessed 30 July 2019
  6. Nazia Parveen, Johnson and Trump's close ties risk disaster for planet, The Guardian, 30 July 2019, accessed same day
  7. 'Labour can't have it both ways - we either offshore our emissions or back UK industry, UKOOG press release, 30 July 2019, accessed same day.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Government Communication House of Lords: Select Committee on Communication, accessed 26 January 2009