Chris Skidmore to stand down as Conservative MP over ‘harmful’ oil and gas plans

Chris Skidmore has announced his intention to “stand down” as a Conservative MP over the government’s decision to expand oil and gas licences.

Skidmore, who authored the Net Zero Review as the government’s de facto climate tsar, issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter) saying he will stand down as an MP “as soon as possible” over new legislation set to be introduced to the House of Commons next week.

The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill, a centre piece of the King’s Speech last year, he argues “clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas”.

He also revealed that he will immediately give up the Conservative Party whip when the commons returns on Monday.

Skidmore had already announced his intention to stand down as an MP at the next election.

His statement read: “As the former Energy Minister who signed the UK’s net zero commitment by 2050 into law, I cannot vote for a bill that clearly promotes the production of new oil and gas”.

It adds: “As fossil fuels become more obsolete, expanding new oil and gas licences or opening new oil fields will only create stranded assets of the future, harming local and regional communities that should instead be supported to transition their skills and expertise to renewable and clean energy”.

“The Net Zero Review I published a year ago next week, Mission Zero, set out how net zero can be the economic opportunity of this decade, if not our generation, bringing with it hundreds of thousands of new jobs, new growth, new regeneration and inward investment worth hundreds of billions of pounds. To achieve this however requires long term commitment to the energy transition, and a clear and consistent message to business and industry that the UK is committed to climate action as a global leader, as it has been for the past two decades.

“I cannot vote for the bill next week. The future will judge harshly those that do. At a time when we should be committing to more climate action, we simply do not have any more time to waste promoting the future production of fossil fuels that is the ultimate cause of the environmental crisis that we are facing”.

It adds: “But I can also no longer condone nor continue to support a government that is committed to a course of action that I know is wrong and will cause future harm. To fail to act, rather than merely speak out, is to tolerate a status quo that cannot be sustained. I am therefore resigning my party whip and instead intend to be free from any party-political allegiance.

“I am deeply grateful for the privilege I have had to serve in government across several departments, including as Energy Minister attending Cabinet, and to have been appointed as the Independent Chair of the Net Zero Review. It is nearly fourteen years since I was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Kingswood, and I am especially grateful to my constituents for placing their repeated trust and faith in me. First and foremost, my duty has been to serve them, as their elected representative.

“It is with that duty to them in mind as their representative that my personal decision today means, as I have long argued, that they deserve the right to elect a new Member of Parliament. I therefore will be standing down from Parliament as soon as possible.

“It has been a remarkable and wonderful opportunity to serve as a Member of Parliament for nearly fourteen years, but I now intend to focus all my energy and attention on delivering net zero and the energy transition”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.