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Media Cycle #4 - Fuel Protests
#1
"With protests breaking out across the nation over fuel prices, is it time for politicians to face up to the fact that petrol in Britain is overtaxed and overpriced?" 


This press cycle will be closed at 23:59 on the 05/02/18. 

Remember to bolden the “tagline” of your statement. 
 #
“Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.”
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#2
The Government does not make decisions on the basis of road blockades or protests. I will consider fuel duty in the next Budget - I understand that it is a significant burden on household Budgets, which is why the Tory fuel duty escalator has been abolished. But any changes to tax rates will inevitably have to be traded off against spending to improve hospitals, provide better education for our children, and protect our children and pensioners from the indignity of poverty. The drivers involved should end their protest and make their case in the proper, democratic manner, in the same way that NHS and education leaders will, rather than trying to force the government's hand - we will not be coerced into budget decisions that could mean less money for the public services we hold so dear.
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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#3
I completely understand the protests undertaken by those concerned with high prices. I believe the potential benefit is well worth the cost if the government uses the revenue wisely to properly fund vital services. The Chancellor's suggestion that protests shouldn't exist in a thriving democracy are deeply concerning indeed. Don't the British people have a right to demonstrate? I'm sure the Chancellor would much rather angry people just sit quietly and do nothing, but he has an obligation to persuade them to see the rationale for the duty.
Rt Hon Harriet Roth MP
Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North (1983-)
Former Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Energy and the Environment
Former Secretary of State for Housing and Urban Development

Socialist Campaign Group - Eurosceptic, Peacenik, Bennite
Labour Party



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#4
Well, ladies and gentlemen, there’s a few points I’d like to make.

I think that some action ought to be taken to relieve the burden of fuel duties. I think, as policy, a reasonable fuel duty makes sense in order to balance the need to fund vital services, while encouraging environmentally-friendly decisions. But even with regards to the Fuel Price Elevator, a particular rate or amount of duty is, at least under a reasonable government, not dogma.

However, what is particularly concerning to me is the flip manner by which the Chancellor has disparaged the fuel protests. In a democracy like Britain, people will not always agree on policy. Sometimes they will disagree so much that they take to the streets. While neither I nor anyone is always obligated to agree with the protests, I have always been under the impression that, as someone whose mandate depends on the electorate, I should at least take the discontent of a large part of the electorate into consideration.

Apparently, this is a concept which seems to have eluded this Labour Government, particularly the Chancellor. For the Chancellor to condemn the fact that the British public are engaging in peaceful protest over Government policy seems to reveal that, at least since the death of John Smith, this Labour Government has increasingly insulated themselves from the electorate they ostensibly serve.
Francis Paris PhD (Londin) MP
Member for Arundel and South Downs
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment
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#5
Of course people should protest and demonstrate. But let's be clear that there is a difference between a protest, demonstration, or indeed a strike; and a blockade of our streets and our refineries in order to try and force the government's hand on tax policy. These blockades are preventing tanker drivers from leaving refineries and making deliveries for fear of their safety, which is a big difference to a peaceful protest. As I've said before, I will look at fuel duty in the Budget, and if they want to make a representation to the Treasury or to stage a peaceful protest then I encourage them to do so. But we will not be setting government policy by blockades or intimidating pickets - for the opposition to suggest that we do so is frankly irresponsible, even before they answer the question of where the billions of pounds of cuts would come from to pay for it.
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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#6
Again, the Chancellor misses the forest for the trees. These individuals are engaged in so far peaceful demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience - a hallmark of our democracy. When the public feels it is not being listened to or hasn't been given proper rationale they will engage in these activities to try and get the attention of their representatives. Now I don't believe slashing the fuel duty to be the responsible move, indeed the money ought to be directed towards public services, fighting child poverty and other important parts of the budget. Yet what we have here is a failure to lead. The Chancellor could've met with protesters directly, heard their concerns, try to persuade them of the need for the duty if he'll keep it or reassure them of pending relief if he won't. Yet he didn't do that, he criticised them and doubled down on his concerning comments on democracy. 
Rt Hon Harriet Roth MP
Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North (1983-)
Former Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Energy and the Environment
Former Secretary of State for Housing and Urban Development

Socialist Campaign Group - Eurosceptic, Peacenik, Bennite
Labour Party



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#7
Whilst Labour devolve into a familiar left vs right squabble over the rights of protesters it is important to remember that these refineries are places of work for many many people, they do not deserve to be intimidated for simply doing their jobs. As to what should happen regarding fuel duty it is important to remember that fuel duty is in fact a necessary evil to incentivise the production and consumption of more fuel efficient modes of transport, be that a more fuel efficient car, a bus or a train. The fact of the matter is that the Government cannot afford give in to short term populism and cut fuel duty, the future of our country and our planet are at stake, we need more pollution cutting measures not fewer.
REBECCA FLAIR

LIB DEM MP FOR MONTGOMERYSHIRE
______
'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded. - Friedrich Hayek
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman
Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Milton Friedman
______

Mac the Great and Powerful
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#8
We are all now painfully aware that the Chancellor reads the BBC; why else would he issue an announcement on the petrol protests and address a point which was solely brought up by a reporter working for the BBC? Not one person in the House of Commons has spoken of lowering the levy on petrol in this country-- literally no one has brought this up. And yet, the Chancellor goes to great lengths in his announcement to denounce any suggestion to lower the levy in order to cushion rising petrol costs. It is a clever way to avoid providing any real solution to the very real, and very serious problem of rising petrol. This is why people are protesting, this is why they are speaking out. But then again, why would we expect a Labour Chancellor who denounces civil action to take real action to help hard working Britons who are facing the most expensive petrol costs in all Europe; Labour is out of touch, out of tune and out of line.
Peter Edward James Edgecomb BA, MEcon
Member of Parliament | Sutton Coldfield
Conservative and Unionist Party
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#9
What the Chancellor fails to mention, ladies and gentlemen, is that a lot of the tanker drivers are refusing to leave the refineries - when they are perfectly capable of doing so - in large part because they refuse to cross a picket line. Apparently the Chancellor is so out of touch with the British public, he, as a Labour Government minister, can't recognise a picket line when it is staring him in the face!

That said, on the issue of fuel duties, I think it bears mentioning that no-one disputes the needs for fuel duties, no-one is disputing that they are necessary to generate revenue, no-one is disputing their necessity to incentivise the adoption of environmentally-friendly modes of transport. But duties and taxes should be within reason. For the Chancellor to act so flip when the British public are struggling with a spike making petrol prices the highest in Europe demonstrates that he, if not the entire Government, has been out of touch with the dday to day concerns of the British public.

Perhaps that has changed with the recent developments and talks of a COBRA meeting. But what we have seen so far is frankly nkt encouraging.
Francis Paris PhD (Londin) MP
Member for Arundel and South Downs
Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment
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#10
It is totally unacceptable for fuel Prices to be so high, motorists are suffering as a result and this Government is taking no action, the Prime Minister has ruled out an emergency budget and has said the Chancellor will consider fuel prices in his next budget, which is months away, something needs to be done now. 

Therefore, as per my speech outside a fuel depot in Kingsbury to protesters, the Conservative Party is calling on the British Public to join our Put Down the Pumps Campaign, let’s boycott the Petrol Stations and avoid filling up on the 10th October and every Tuesday after that, to send the Government a strong message that the British People have had enough of high petrol prices, it is completely unacceptable that we are paying more for our fuel than France, Germany or Spain and this government has seriously underestimated how people feel about the current prices of fuel, people are angry and upset and enough is enough.

The fact is pure and simple, fuel duty needs to be cut immediately, and this Chancellor and this Government are unwilling to do so. The British people will send a clear message to this Government through our Put Down the Pumps Campaign, to reduce fuel duty to lower the prices at the pumps.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#11
Fuel prices are high, I recognise that and the Government has taken action to mitigate the cost of fuel through abolishing the fuel price escalator and committing to consider the cost of fuel in the upcoming budget. I understand the concerns of the protestors, but I do not understand Sir Harold, a man who served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and did nothing to cut fuel prices. He is saying we must cut fuel prices to continental levels, then I expect him to say what taxes he will rise or look directly into the eyes of those he is proclaiming to defend and tell them that their local school must now be underfunded, that their local hospital will be cancelling surgeries because the 26p cut he is so quick to call for would cost £13 billions pounds. While the Leader of Opposition encourages further risk to the NHS and schools the Government will be working to ensure fuel starts flowing again.
Rt Hon Oscar Hattingly QC MP
Member for Truro
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
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#12
The Labour government has taken action and they've decided to bring a sludge hammer to do a screwdriver's job! Petrol prices are the highest here at home than anywhere in all of Europe. Concerned citizens, hard working Britons who move goods each day for the benefit of us all, have taken civil action because the government has remained deafeningly silent on the matter. The Labour Chancellor has denounced this civil action outright and the Prime Minister has stated in no uncertain terms that she will not address the issue of skyrocketing petrol-- not now, not ever. While the immediate solution of lowering the levy right now to bring petrol prices in line at least with the French or Spanish or Germans is cast aside, this Labour government has convened COBRA and has enacted emergency powers to deal with the protests and the residual issue of petrol reserves. Emergency powers! A tangled web this Labour government has woven over the ridiculous price of a litre of fuel in this country when the simplest solution is to lower the levy now.
Peter Edward James Edgecomb BA, MEcon
Member of Parliament | Sutton Coldfield
Conservative and Unionist Party
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#13
I was shocked to read this morning that the Leader of the Conservative Party has effectively endorsed the fuel blockades across Britain by addressing one of their rallies and calling for further action. I understand the difficulties that high petrol prices are causing for people. But these blockades are putting public services at risk in an attempt to coerce the government into changing tax policy. For the Conservative leader to publicly endorse blockades as a legitimate way of forcing the government to make policy is irresponsible and undemocratic. Meeting the demand for a 26p fuel duty cut would mean £13 billion less for public services - this government, unlike the irresponsible Mr Saxon, will not make decisions like that in concession to the punitive and undemocratic actions of a minority.
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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#14
For the Government to use emergency powers in an attempt to resolve this situation is just incredible. The Prime Minister said herself the Government would not negotiate with those who seek to hold the country hostage, these protesters are honest citizens who have a natural right to protest, they are not individuals who have committed a crime or have sought to harm others which is how this sham of a Government is treating them.  The Government could have easily sorted this out with the protesters by talking to them, understanding their concerns and doing the right thing by reducing fuel duty immediately which is what the Conservative Party would do.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#15
At the moment: schools are closing, children are losing out on their education; hospitals are moving to emergency care only, people who have been waiting for operation will continue to wait. This isn't due to Government inaction but due to protests which are not organised or agreed through a democratic union process. 

I understand the plight of people who feel fuel duty is too high - and it is - but the course of action they have undertaken isn't the way to resolve the issue. Now is the time for them to peacefully stop protesting; to know the Government has heard their message, to know this Government will address this issue in the forthcoming budget and other actions. Now is the time for the protesters to do the right thing and let schools resume teaching and our NHS to go back to full capacity. If they continue on this path protesters are putting the health and education of our nation at risk and I for one don't believe that is their intention. 

For any members of my own constituency, or those from neighbouring constituencies, involved in the protest action I will be holding a special meeting in Cambridge to discuss the issues in the hope that directly engaging with me will alleviate their concerns and know it will be dealt with. Through communication and agreement things will change, and we will correct this egregious mistake of the last Tory government. Only then will we end this crisis and move forward together towards a common solution.

I find it unbelievable that the Conservative Party are fanning the flames of civil disobedience and placing the education and health of people at risk just so they can score political points. By actively leading protests against Government policy they themselves introduced turns them into a party of protest only with no clear policy. It is not constructive and it is not in the national interest. 

There is only one solution to this crisis, which oddly the Conservatives agree with, and that is communication. However, they then suggest to people a set of actions that do not support communication but confrontation that do not support working together for the common interest but to drive wedges into our society. They are the nasty party playing games with the lives of people at this moment of national importance.
MP for Cambridge (1992 - )
Independent 
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#16
The governments taxation policy is not made on the fly unlike the Conservatives.  The Tories are playing a dangerous game especially Mr Saxon foolishly playing the role a rabble-rouser  stoking public disorder and disrupting essential services for political gain. The Transport Ministry will be exploring all powers at its disposal to ensure that the fuel is flowing, the pumps are pumping and our nations cars are kept moving.
Joseph "Uncle Joe" Flanagan
Member of Parliament for Easington 1983 - Present
Secretary of State for Natural Resources & Environment 1992 - Present

Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 1987-1992
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#17
What a sharp reversal for the Conservative Party, not two decades ago the Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was ordering the police in to break up unlawful pickets in the mining towns, now the Conservative Leader Harold Saxon is actively endorsing them like a Marxist trying to turn a strike into a riot. Frankly I think Mr Saxon should be ashamed of himself for his willingness to weaponise illegal actions to make crude party political points. The Fuel Duty is unfortunate in that we have to levy it to pay for our public services and incentivise people away from cars towards more carbon neutral, energy efficient modes of transport. The Liberal Democrats have pledged a freeze, if the Tories want to cut it so drastically I would love to hear which tax hikes and spending slashes they have planned.
REBECCA FLAIR

LIB DEM MP FOR MONTGOMERYSHIRE
______
'Emergencies' have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded. - Friedrich Hayek
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman
Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. - Milton Friedman
______

Mac the Great and Powerful
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#18
As the Secretary of State for Education so rightly put it, there is only one solution to this crisis, communication, which is non existent from the Government's side who should be talking to the public who are angry about the cost of fuel. The only form of communication from the Government has been to silence the protesters, unacceptable. While the Government try to silence free speech, the Conservatives will continue to press for the Government to do the right thing, immediate action to lower fuel prices.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#19
The Leader of the Opposition has dug himself into a hole and he knows it. His Party has all but endorsed blockades that are putting public services at risk and requiring the use of emergency powers to get fuel delivered. And his only response to this is that we should immediately concede to the demands of those blockades - without an idea in mind of how we might pay for all £13 billion of it.

Well let me tell Mr Saxon something. A responsible government can never govern by blockade. Every voice in a democracy has to be equally heard. So I will, as chancellor, hear equally to these blockades the silent majority that want better hospitals for their grandparents and better schools for their children. I am not ignoring the people or their concerns over the price of fuel: I have heard loud and clear. But government and democracy is not about only listening to who shouts the loudest - or who, inadvertent as it may be, put our services at risk through their actions. It is about listening to everyone and coming to a decision in the best interests of the country - a concept that the Tories under Harold Saxon seem to have forgotten altogether.
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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#20
We now see the fault in Labour's message of extreme tax-and-spend budgeting - that when taxes are cut, we must do the same with public services. [b]In the Conservative shadow budget, we will both cut fuel duty and ensure that all public services are funded.[b] They are not exclusive to each other, and the Prime Minister and the Chancellor cannot use this as an excuse to harm the taxpayers of this country.

Note: the tagline starts at "In the Conservative" and ends with "services are funded."
The Rt. Hon. Sir Jonathan Horncastle, GBE PC MP Ph.D. (Cantab)
Conservative Party, Tory Reform Group
Shadow First Secretary of State (1992-Present)
Shadow Secretary of State for Regions, Nations, and Devolution (1992-Present)
Chairman of the Conservative Party (1992-Present)
MP for Chelsea and Fulham (1979-Present)
Secretary of State for Education and Science (1990-1992)
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