“Keeping up with the Crown Prince” – government must stop palling around with despots and engage with UK energy producers

Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the Deputy Prime Minister on the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia this week to seek alternative sources of energy, just days after the Saudi regime, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, launched a new wave of mass executions. Mr Carmichael warned the government that “appeasing murderous despots” would not lead to energy security and called for greater engagement with renewables producers and offshore oil and gas in this country to avoid further reliance on dictatorships.

Speaking at the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“Appeasing murderous despots is never going to be the route to security of energy supply. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the prime minister to be here talking to UK energy industries?

“Shouldn’t he be talking to renewable energy developers about what they can do to bring their product on stream faster and quicker? Shouldn’t he also be speaking to our own offshore oil and gas industry about what they can do, in the here and now, to improve security of supply and to assist in the journey towards Net Zero?

The deputy prime minister, Dominic Raab MP, said:

“Yes, he was doing that on Monday evening, and now it’s Wednesday. And yes, he’s out in Saudi Arabia closing a one-billion-pound investment deal, creating seven hundred jobs in the North in renewable energy. I think the Lib Dems need to keep up.”

Reacting after the exchange Mr Carmichael said:

“Raab may be telling the rest of us to ‘keep up’, but the Prime Minister is spending his time ‘keeping up with the Crown Prince’. We all know that Johnson has form in making friends with unsavoury characters but it is even more blatant coming just days after the Saudi Crown Prince launched a weekend of mass executions.”

“Instead of palling around with the murderous Saudi regime, Boris Johnson needs to engage more with local developers in both renewable energy and offshore oil and gas. Renewable producers need further ramping up of investment to bring their input onstream faster. Our offshore oil and gas industry is a globally recognised success story which can provide secure energy supply now and in the decades to come as we move towards Net Zero.

“It will not be much of a “just transition” if we trade one human rights abuser for another as the source of our energy supplies. Energy security cannot come by pleading for scraps from dictators.”

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