'I'm Beyond Furious': Green Party MP Slams Minister For Dodging Climate Questions In Commons

Caroline Lucas said refusing to answer urgent questions was "essentially abusing the procedures of this House".
Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas
Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas
Richard Baker via Getty Images

A minister’s lacklustre response to a series of climate queries infuriated a Green Party MP today in the Commons.

Caroline Lucas – former leader of the Green Party – was looking for answers the day before the UN’s annual climate summit COP28 kicks off on Thursday.

Addressing Amanda Solloway, the minister for energy consumers and affordability, Lucas asked 12 different questions about the UK and the climate crisis.

This included asking Solloway if she shares Lucas’ “outrage” about reports the UAE plan to use its role as COP28 president in order to secure oil and gas deals, and queries around the government’s recent controversial fossil fuels policies.

She asked: “Will the minister explain why the government is pushing for unbated fossil fuels rather than fossil fuels in their entirety?”

Lucas also requested more details around the government’s plans for climate finances – as well as the “obscene” Rosebank oil field which No.10 has allowed to go ahead.

Solloway simply emphasised that the government does take the crisis seriously, as demonstrated by the energy secretary’s upcoming attendance at COP28, and pointed out that there is a separate department for net zero and energy security – that is Solloway’s own department.

Lucas later reposted a clip from their exchange on X – formerly Twitter – with the caption: “I’m beyond furious. If you want to know how seriously Govt takes #COP28, look no further than minister’s response to my UQ.”

Lucas made her frustration about Solloway’s response very clear through a follow-up point of order to the Commons half an hour later, too.

Addressing the speaker, Lucas said: “I wonder if you have any advice on what can be done when a minister simply refuses to answer a single one of the questions that I put and is essentially abusing the procedures of this house?

“I asked 12 questions in good faith.

“She was on her feet for 49 seconds, during which time we learnt that the secretary of state is at the COP, there is a department for energy security and net zero, and we learnt that her granddaughter cares a lot about the planet.

“That’s all very fascinating but it doesn’t actually answer a single one of my questions.

“How can we try to do our jobs as members of this house to hold the government to account when ministers are able to stand up at the Despatch Box for literally 49 seconds and not answer a single one of the questions granted worthy to be put?”

Solloway responded by claiming she had replied to most of those questions in her opening remarks – at which point, Lucas just smiled and shook her head – and added she would be happy to respond in writing.

Solloway also took a swipe at Lucas by claiming she should attend the previous debates about this issues in the house.

According to the official parliament website, MPs submit urgent questions for the Speaker’s consideration every day.

If the Speaker is satisfied the questions is urgent and important to the public, the relevant minister has to appear in the chamber to explain how the government is responding to the issue.


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