Scotland’s sole Independent MP is only member of new Commons probe into British energy Brexit fall-out

Michelle Thomson, MP
Michelle Thomson, MP

EXCLUSIVE by Scottish Energy News

The new committee of MPs set up to scrutinise the government’s Department for Business and Energy (DeBEIS) has launched a new inquiry on Brexit-based priorities for UK energy and the environment.

This inquiry will examine the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU on the energy sector and the UK’s national climate change commitments and determine which policy areas should be prioritised for continued cooperation during the exit negotiation process.

The UK energy sector has extensive links with the EU through trade, directives and interconnection. While Member States, including the UK, retain sovereignty over their energy mix, substantial parts of UK energy policy have been driven by EU-wide directives and proposals.

Iain Wright (Labour MP, Hartlepool)Chairman of the DeBEIS Committee, explained:The UK’s vote to leave the European Union raises serious questions about the UK’s future energy and climate change policy, which the Government will need to consider carefully during exit negotiations.

“As a Committee, we want to examine the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU on the energy sector and on our ambitions to combat climate change. We are keen to hear from stakeholders about what they want from the UK’s exit negotiations and we will want to consider how best to maintain investor confidence and security of supply as we leave the EU.

“We also want to explore how, post-Brexit, the UK can build on its international standing in climate leadership and as a centre for low carbon innovation.”

british-independence-referendum-eu-and-uk-flagsThe only Scottish MP on the Commons committee is Michelle Thomson (Edinburgh West) who now sits as an Independent after being stripped of the SNP party whip after the polis launched a (still ongoing) inquiry relating to the solicitor – since struck off – who was used by Thomson for a number of property transactions.

The Committee will be calling witnesses to provide oral evidence based on the written submissions received by the former Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) for its two curtailed inquiries Leaving the EU: implications for UK climate policy and Leaving the EU: implications for UK energy policy. 

MPs will be exploring the questions raised by these inquiries in more detail, particularly on the following points:

  • What should be the Government’s priorities on energy and climate change when negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU?
  • What would the impact be on the UK leaving the Internal Energy Market? How important is continued UK participation in the Internal Energy Market? What model should this participation take?
  • What should be the Government’s priorities on the EU Emissions Trading System? How viable are alternative options?Which aspects of EU policy should be maintained? Should energy-relevant EU policy be grandfathered into UK law?  If so, how could it be updated and enforced?
  • Stakeholders can submit written evidence that provides an update to their original evidence or more detail on any of the points listed above.

Additionally, stakeholders are invited to respond to any of the points below:

  • How best can investor confidence be maintained in the face of considerable uncertainty surrounding the negotiations and, post-Brexit, the potential absence of EU policies and legislation? 
  • How would possible new restrictions on trade and movement of labour affect the security of energy supply and prices and the attraction of inward investment into energy infrastructure and facilities?  
  • How can the UK maximise future opportunities to cooperate with international partners to retain its standing as a hub for low carbon innovation?
  • How can the UK retain its influential voice in 1) international climate negotiations and 2) future changes to EU rules and regulations?
  • What are the implications of the UK’s exit from the EU on the both the UK’s and the EU’s COP21 pledges? What will be the UK’s future role within the United Nations climate change processes?

Updates should be submitted online via the Committee web-page by 16 December 2016. Evidence sessions will begin in the New Year.

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