Future of Coal in the UK

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:11 pm on 3rd December 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham 3:11 pm, 3rd December 2020

I thank all Members on both sides of the House for their contributions to what has been a very good debate, and I thank the Backbench Business Committee for allowing it to go ahead. I thank the Minister for his words. He is right that we need to be ambitious for a decarbonised future, but in order to get there, coal still has a role to play in the interim.

Many Members on both sides of the House talked about coalfield communities. My hon. Friend Brendan Clarke-Smith mentioned his colliery football club, which reminded me of Bearpark and Esh colliery band in my constituency, who are still going strong. The hon. Members for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) and for Easington (Grahame Morris) really rammed home the need to ensure that coalfield communities are looked after. Mary Kelly Foy made the point that this is a fundamental part of Britain’s past, but she welcomed the green industrial future, which my hon. Friend Jacob Young also touched on.

My hon. Friends the Members for North East Derbyshire (Lee Rowley), for West Bromwich West (Shaun Bailey) and for Ashfield (Lee Anderson) talked about the economic opportunity. That is particularly important, because as my hon. Friend the Member for North East Derbyshire said, we cannot go backwards in terms of economic growth; this has to build on something into the future. My hon. Friend Jonathan Gullis made a particularly good point about how we can use our industrial heritage to do all sorts of innovative things, and I wish him success in that.

Owen Thompson said that this was like an actor leaving the stage. I agree with him on that, but it is not quite yet—we still have a bit of a way to go. My hon. Friend Mark Jenkinson made an exceptional speech about how this is part of us not only levelling up but building back better for the future, and I wish him and his colleagues in Cumbria all the best with their application. Finally, Luke Pollard said that coalfield communities are ambitious for their future. That is probably why so many of them voted Conservative this time, and hopefully more will do so in the future.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the future of coal in the United Kingdom.

Sitting suspended.