Labour'S Jonathan Reynolds U-turns call for power to be RATIONED

Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds forced into U-turn after suggesting ministers consider RATIONING UK energy supplies amid soaring prices and Russian sanctions

  • Shadow minister told the BBC Government should plan for limited distribution
  • But minutes later told Times Radio rationing ‘would be a disaster for households’
  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had ruled out any form of rationing power
  • He told the BBC ‘it’s not the route that we want to go down’ to solve power crisis

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Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds was forced to backtrack today after suggesting that UK power supplies be rationed.

The Labour frontbencher used a round of interviews today to suggest ministers make private plans to limit distribution if competition for scant resources increases.

He told the BBC’s Sunday Morning today that increased competition from other European nations if they are forced to give up Russian oil and gas could cause problems.

But minutes later he was forced to row back on his comments, telling Times Radio rationing ‘would be a disaster for households and for businesses’.

It came after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had ruled out any form of rationing, amid surging energy prices hitting UK families, saying: ‘It’s not the route that we want to go down.’

The Labour frontbencher used a round of interviews today to suggest ministers make private plans to limit distribution if competition for scant resources increases.

It came after Transport secretary Grant Shapps had ruled out any form of rationing, amid surging energy prices hitting UK families, saying: ‘It’s not the route that we want to go down.’

It came as Boris Johnson’s plans for new domestic power production were in disarray today as ministers openly clashed over whether to build new windfarms in the countryside. 

Boris Johnson is expected to include a large expansion of wind and nuclear power when he unveils his much delayed energy strategy this week, designed to reduce dependence on foreign oil and gas.

But the while the plans focus mainly on wind farms in the sea, the plans are expected to include measures to increase production on land. 

On Saturday, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng suggested capacity could double to 30GW by 2030.

But the PM faces strong opposition to the plan from shire Tories, which could instead see the majority of turbines built in more remote areas like the Scottish Highlands.

No 10 distanced itself from a massive expansion in onshore wind, saying any expansion would require ‘community consent’. 

And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today said he was opposed to them – suggesting he would rather have a new nuclear reactor in his Hertfordshire constituency. 

Asked about rationing energy on the BBC, Mr Reynolds said: ‘We should be making those plans and the Government should be preparing, not necessarily in public, for that situation.

‘There’s a lot of complacency in this country about the relative lower exposure to Russian gas that we have.

‘But we should bear in mind that part of the supply that comes to this country from, for instance, Norway or from the liquefied natural gas that goes into the terminals and wells, that is partly because Russian gas is fulfilling the demands of central Europe.

‘I think what the Government should announce is a plan which is not simply shopping from one authoritarian regime to the next for fossil fuels, but that long-term plan on renewables or nuclear and energy efficiency that would make the difference.’ 

But speaking on Times Radio an hour later, Mr Reynolds appeared to U-turn on his position.

Asked again whether the UK should be rationing energy, he said: ‘No, that would be a disaster for households and for businesses.

‘But the fact you’re even asking the question is an indictment of Conservative energy policy for the last decade.

‘We still haven’t had a plan from the Government, even though they said it was to them a priority and an emergency.’

On LBC minutes later, he clarified that Labour believes ‘a successful plan would absolutely mean we did not have to consider’ rationing energy.

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