Boris Johnson’s plan to revise Britain’s energy strategy has been delayed as the Prime Minister intends to go to Saudi Arabia to negotiations on oil supply.
The government originally planned to announce a new strategy this week to stop dependence on Russian oil and gas, including more nuclear power plants and increased use of fossil fuels in the North Sea.
But the case will not be shown until next week at the earliest, No. 10 has said, as officials continue to work on the details. Remaining questions include whether the UK will continue to use coal in the coming years and what role fracking in the energy supply.
Johnson is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia this week, where it is believed he will pressure Gulf state leaders to increase oil production to replace supplies from Russia.
This is happening despite anger over a number of human rights violations in the kingdom, including the execution of 81 convicted criminals over the weekend.
In an urgent question in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Crispin Blunt asked Secretary of State Amanda Milling: “Will (Mr Johnson) at least seek an assurance that the execution of those arrested for alleged crimes when children will cease? Will he make it clear to the Crown Prince how shaken friends of the kingdom are, especially in light of the state’s assassination of Jamal Khashoggi just three years ago?
Labor’s Nadia Whittome added: “It is highly likely that British weapons have been used to kill civilians. In light of the executions on Saturday, the Prime Minister will cancel his planned visit and this government will do what it should have done a long time ago and end arms sales to the Saudi regime?
Mrs Milling replied: “We are shocked by the execution of 81 people on March 13. The United Kingdom is strongly opposed to the death penalty in all countries and in any case as a matter of principle. The British Ambassador has already raised the UK’s strong concerns about the Saudi National Security Adviser and their Deputy Foreign Minister. “
On Monday, Prime Minister and Trade Minister Kwasi Kwarteng held a round table meeting with leaders of the British oil and gas industry to discuss how to increase production in the North Sea. The British and Scottish governments are at odds over whether to give the green light for further drilling given the environmental impact of the sector.