Tory MP Lee Rowley compared to Extinction Rebellion protesters over fracking comments

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Jeremy Corbyn has branded Tory MP Lee Rowley one of the “nose-ringed, uncooperative crusties” - a term used by Boris Johnson to describe Extinction Rebellion protesters - over views he expressed about fracking at last year’s Conservative Party conference.

Speaking in the Commons today following the Queen’s Speech, Mr Corbyn turned to North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley as one of those who had proposed the loyal address.

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley. Photo: UK Parliament

North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley. Photo: UK Parliament

Mr Corbyn said: “I was a little surprised to see that the Honourable member for North East Derbyshire had been asked by the Prime Minister to propose the motion today, given they’ve not always enjoyed the best of relationships.

“As we know, the Prime Minister has earned a reputation for enjoying life to the fullest.

“During his time as London Mayor I understand he became incandescent on learning that the Honourable Member - at that time a Westminster councillor - intended introducing a ‘night-life tax’.

“Thankfully, he was able to reassure the Prime Minister that the night-life tax only applied to car parking charges, and not other activities. Although on reflection, he may well have missed a revenue earning opportunity.

“I suspect it’s no coincidence the Honourable Member for North East Derbyshire has shown great independence of thought as a politician as he grew up in Chesterfield during the 1980s – a cradle of political dissent.

“Today, the Honourable member is again in danger of finding himself upbraided by the Prime Minister. This time as a member of the ‘nose-ringed, uncooperative crusties’.

“Indeed, he took his fight against fracking into the lion’s den at the 2018 Tory Party conference and predicted that his party's support for fracking could see them lose seats.”

The Yorkshire Post reported last year how Mr Rowley told a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference the Government’s backing of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas is a “barnacle that needs to be removed from the Conservative boat as quickly as possible”, in a nod to Tory election strategist Sir Lynton Crosby.

Mr Rowley, a former oil and gas analyst, said at the time: “At the moment the lion has not roared on fracking because we have dealt with less than a dozen applications in this country for the last eight years. If we’re to do it at scale, if we’re to achieve whatever objective the Government is setting, we will have to have hundreds in Derbyshire.”

He has since spoken out against fracking on multiple occasions.

Mr Johnson said: "Mr Speaker, Her Majesty’s Gracious Speech was proposed superbly by my Hon Friend the Member for North East Derbyshire the first Conservative to represent his seat since 1935 and if Honourable members are wondering whence he derives the fire and passion of his oratory it may interest them to know that his aunt was secretary to Arthur Scargill and I doubt that he shares many of the political convictions of the former miners’ leader except one – that we should obey the democratic will of the people and get Brexit done on October 31/

"My honourable friend is also a collector of airline memorabilia his home is allegedly a museum of airline washbags, airline socks and a vast fleet of model planes including a model Extinction Rebellion protester glued to the roof and all I can say to my Honourable friend is cabin crew doors to manual and cross check because his career is plainly about to take off and his speech was in the very finest traditions of the house."