Kingswood’s MP Chris Skidmore has today resigned the Conservative party whip and says he intends to stand down from Parliament as soon as possible.

In a statement issued on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Skidmore, who has represented the constituency for nearly 14 years, says he has to put the future of the planet before his loyalty to the Government.

Mr Skidmore served as Energy Minister and later headed a review of Net Zero. But one year after his report was published, the Government is pressing ahead with a bill that will allow more licences for oil and gas production in the North Sea.

Having abstained at the first reading last year, Mr Skidmore said in his statement:

“I cannot vote for the bill next week. The future will judge harshly those that do. At a time when we should be committing to more climate action, we simply do not have any more time to waste promoting the future production of fossil fuels that is the ultimate cause of the environmental crisis that we are facing.

“But I also can no longer condone nor continue to support a government that is committed to a course of action that I know is wrong and will cause future harm. To fail to act, rather than merely speak out, is to tolerate a status quo that cannot be sustained. I am therefore resigning my party whip and instead intend to be free from any party-political allegiance.”

He went on to say that the people of Kingswood deserved the right to elect a new Member of Parliament as soon as possible. 

The Kingswood seat is due to disappear this year, but as boundary changes have not yet come into force a by-election could be held in the existing constituency. 

Mr Skidmore’s decision is likely to provoke a political storm over the weekend and beyond.