LEIGH MP James Grundy said he "does not trust Wigan Council to make the right decisions" when it comes to fracking during a heated debate.

The Conservative MP addressed the House of Commons on October 19 with an impassioned speech to try and secure support for his plan to prevent local authorities having the final say on the matter.

Wigan Council's Labour leadership has stated they are opposed to the controversial process, which was temporarily banned in 2019 after earth tremors were reported following the search for onshore oil and gas.

Mr Grundy claimed his plan would look like a mini-referendum in the communities put forward as potential fracking sites and said councils should not be "hornswoggling local communities in this way" by "trampling local rights".

In a statement posted to social media on Thursday (October 20), Mr Grundy reiterated his view. He said: “Yesterday I spoke about my concerns in the debate on fracking in the Commons.

“I have worked with other Conservative backbenchers to help secure a local veto on fracking that would prevent local authorities from forcing planning applications for fracking on communities that were opposed to it.

"The Government will now engage in a consultation, then set out the details of that community veto power, likely to be a referendum. 

“I have been very clear that the final veto power on fracking must lie with local communities, and councils such as Wigan Metro must never be able to overrule them.

"I don’t trust Wigan Council to make the right decisions on fracking, but I do trust local people, and I will back them where they oppose it.”

In his speech, he also claimed that Wigan Council, controlled by Labour, are unwilling to listen to objectors despite their numbers being in the thousands.

He alluded to unpopular planning application processes currently ongoing in his constituency.

Leigh Journal: Cllr David MolyneuxCllr David Molyneux (Image: Wigan Council)

Wigan’s council leader David Molyneux stated the council’s position on fracking at the last full council meeting on September 28.

He said: “I think we have stated on many occasions within this council, and I am going to reiterate it tonight. We will oppose any fracking applications on land which belongs to this authority. 

“We are certainly not going to sit back and allow fracking to take place on any land that we control.

"The areas of search that we saw some years ago for fracking cover many parts of this borough, and can I ask you to remind yourselves of the objections of people across the country in terms of what fracking could cause to our environment and to our communities."

After Mr Grundy's speech in Parliament, the Labour Party tabled a motion to ban fracking which was largely seen as a ‘confidence vote’ for the government at the time.

James Grundy was one of 326 members that voted against the motion.