BARROW and Furness independent MP John Woodcock has urged the government to start a “new nuclear revolution” by taking control of building the Moorside power plant after a foreign invest deal collapsed.
Speaking in parliament during a debate on the nuclear industry that was secured by Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Mr Woodcock said thousands of jobs would be lost and Britain’s energy security compromised unless the government snaps out of its near-paralysis over Brexit.
Mr Woodcock told MPs that in the past Cumbria has proved itself a world leader in nuclear energy and it can do so again if the government agrees to take direct control of building the stalled nuclear power plant.
He said he is sick of weak governments going cap-in-hand to foreign investors and getting knocked back, putting thousands of local jobs at risk.
Addressing energy minister Richard Harrington, who has threatened to resign unless prime minister Theresa May rules out a catastrophic no-deal Brexit in a crunch vote next week, Mr Woodcock said: “The minister and his boss are probably doing God’s work in trying to wrench the government from total madness on the Brexit deal, but that illustrates the lack of focus across government on our wider energy future at a critical time.
“We have the crisis derailing the Moorside deal and (Welsh nuclear power station project) Wylfa is in a very difficult patch. Where will our energy come from in the future? We do not know what our relationships will be with other energy-producing nations in 10, 20 or 30 months’ time – never mind 10, 20 or 30 years. We have to secure Britain’s future by securing our energy, and the only reliable way to do that is through UK nuclear energy.
“I am sick of us going and pleading with other nations and things not quite going well. We see that everyone is working really hard but it does not get results. We need to get back into UK nuclear – not simply taking a stake, but taking the lead.
“Let us show the world that we, who created the fabulous nuclear energy in the 1950s in Cumbria, can do that again with a new nuclear revolution, led by the government and backed – I would imagine – by many members here.”