Fossil Free Parliament has launched a new pledge for MPs to sign, committing to reject donations, gifts, sponsorship deals and any other benefits from the fossil fuel industry and its affiliates. This is in line with the first of our five demands, to Block the Money Pipeline.
The pledge is now available online for any MP or Peer to add their name to, and we encourage anyone to write to their MP about it and ask them to sign. We are pleased to announce that the first ten MPs have already signed the pledge and will be sharing the list of signatories very soon!
This pledge is important because the fossil fuel industry offers benefits to MPs in a bid to curry political influence. When MPs accept benefits from the fossil fuel industry or its affiliates, they both implicitly condone the industry’s dangerous disregard for its role in accelerating the climate crisis and open themselves up to further influence in support of the industry’s interests. When our decision-makers should be channelling every effort into bringing about a just and fast transition away from fossil fuels, accepting benefits from the fossil fuel industry now creates a particular conflict of interest for MPs.
For example, in the year leading up to the publication of the government’s North Sea Transition Deal in March 2021, the governing Conservative Party received a total of £419,900 in donations from companies and individuals involved in the North Sea oil and gas industry. When published, the deal made no mention of an end-date for fossil fuel extraction in the North Sea, and included grounds for the approval of new drilling licences, contravening International Energy Agency advice. This year (2023), the Government has signed off on hundreds of new drilling licences, making it very clear that the interests of the fossil fuel industry in the North Sea are a political priority.
There are also various cases of individual MPs accepting fossil fuel industry benefits. For example, in summer 2023 SNP Westminster group leader Stephen Flynn was gifted VIP tickets to Wimbledon worth £1500 by BP. As the MP for Aberdeen South – Europe’s oil capital – Flynn has a clear role to play in decisions about the future of the fossil fuel industry. In response to questions from the press about these tickets, Flynn responded by pointing to BP’s role in the development of Aberdeen’s new “Hydrogen Hub” – a new hydrogen production, storage and distribution centre in Aberdeen, purportedly to be powered by renewable energy. As BP plans to invest double the amount of money in fossil fuel projects than in renewable projects this year, and has rolled back on its emission reductions targets after a major bump in its oil and gas profits – emphasising the company’s role in the Hydrogen Hub contributes to its efforts to greenwash its image.
In this way, it is clear that when MPs accept donations, gifts, or benefits of any kind, they are likely to be put in a position where they have to defend that decision and thus do the work of greenwashing these polluters for them. Disallowing the fossil fuel industry to supply decision-makers with donations, gifts or benefits of any kind is a necessary precondition for decision-makers to be able to make impartial decisions on phasing out the fossil fuel industry. Please see the dedicated No Fossil Funding Pledge page for more information.
Write to your MP!
If you want to help us address the issue of fossil fuel industry donations, gifts and benefits, please write to your MP asking them to sign the pledge. You can find out who your MP is and their email address using this online tool. We have all sorts of useful resources that you can use to help with contacting your MP, so please don’t hesitate to email email@example.com if you want any advice or support.
We also want to know what your MP says in response. If they say yes, then we’d love to celebrate this. If they say they can’t sign for some reason or have technical questions to ask, we would love to help you with the next steps of the conversation. Again, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.