Andrea Leadsom

Andrea Leadsom

Background

Andrea Leadsom is a UK Conservative Party politician and MP for South Northamptonshire. In June 2017, she was appointed Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons.

The Independent reported that in October 2015, Leadsom had told a parliamentary inquiry that when she took up her role as energy secretary in May 2015 she had to question whether climate change was real because she was unsure. She said that she was now “completely persuaded” on climate change.

During the Brexit campaign, Leadsom was a committee member of Vote Leave, the official group working for the UK to leave the EU. She also ran for party leadership in July 2016 following the successful Brexit Vote.

Millionaire Brexit backer, and UKIP donor, Arron Banks put his support behind Leadsom for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Leave.EU, another campaign group, also pushed for her to win the leadership race, which Leadsom withdrew from after failing to gain enough support.

Prior government positions include serving as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from July 2016 until June 2017 as well as Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change from May 2015 until July 2016.

Stance on Climate Change

Upon entering government in her role as energy minister in May 2015, the Independent reported that Leadsom had to question whether climate change was real. During her role at the former Department of Energy and Climate Change she also continually worked to push fracking in the UK, saying it was an opportunity “not to be missed”.

In the spring of 2016 during the Brexit campaign, Leadsom’s Fresh Start pressure group released a manifesto. Among its proposals was a plan to ditch current and post-2020 targets for renewable energy, instead investing in shale gas, new nuclear, and carbon capture and storage technology. This would ensure the UK met its climate goals at a lower cost, it said.

The group’s environment briefing states that “we have deliberately not challenged the science of anthropomorphic [sic] climate change”.

Whilst the business case for government support for learning and innovation in a range of promising low carbon energy technologies is clear,” it continues, “the need to meet the EU2020 renewable targets constitutes a burdensome and most unnecessarily expensive policy.”

Key Quotes

October 2015

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference:

There is no chance in the near term that we move away from fossil fuels; that just cannot happen.”

It’s not just about onshore wind and solar, which have had a lot of bill payer subsidies; it’s not just about offshore wind…what we also want to succeed in is CCS, carbon capture and storage – a way of lengthening our use of fossil fuels.”

May 2015

Speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Gas and Oil:

“When I first came to this job one of my two questions was: 'Is climate change real?' and the other was 'Is hydraulic fracturing safe?' And on both of those questions I am now completely persuaded.” 

Key Deeds

May 2016

Leadsom launches a Eurosceptic pressure group, Fresh Start. The group has an energy policy which features ‘keeping bills down’ and ‘cost efficiency’. It' environment briefing states: “we have deliberately not challenged the science of anthropomorphic [sic] climate change”.

February 2016

Andrea Leadsom meets with the coal and steel industry during a UK Coal Forum meeting. During this meeting the industry admitted it was “currently in crisis” and as the minutes show, “It was stressed that coal could be helpful in the transition to decarbonisation and could be good as cheap, backup capacity.”

July 2008

US lobby group ALEC paid for Andrea Leadsom to visit Washington and Chicago to attend exchange meetings. This trip was valued at £1,800.00. ALEC is known for working with big oil companies such as Exxon as well as lobbying against legislation that seeks to tackle climate change.

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