Since last summer, the Prime Minister has promised to ‘max out’ the oil and gas reserves in the North Sea - despite all the evidence, warnings from experts, and even past Conservative government promises not to.

So when the government presented its Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill this week, it was met with fierce opposition.

For weeks, a cross-party group of 30 MPs (including me) and a group of Northern mayors have been urging the government to drop the bill and instead focus on ramping up renewable power and reducing energy use.

One Conservative MP, and former energy minister, announced he would resign as an MP because he refused to "support a government that is committed to a course of action that…is wrong and will cause future harm."

Simply put, our future is not found in gas and oil.

The government claims this is about Britain’s energy supply, but new licenses will have very little impact on the UK’s energy supply and security, primarily because most of the UK’s gas has already been burned.

Since 2010 new licenses issued in the North Sea have resulted in just nine weeks’ worth of gas being discovered.

For oil, official figures show that around 80 per cent of the UK’s oil reserves are exported. Even on the global market, this policy fails to fly.

The International Energy Agency has made it abundantly clear that, as the world strives towards climate goals, “no new long-lead-time upstream oil and gas projects are needed”.

Beyond base economics, the government’s plans also fly in the face of the promises we’ve made to our allies at the UN Climate Summit, COP28, and further weakens any claim the UK makes to be a world leader in tackling the climate crisis.

So why is the government bringing this new legislation forward? Many of us suspect that in a general election year, the government is hoping oil and gas will fuel more ‘culture wars.’

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the Government is wasting time and money on the fuels of the past, when it should be championing technologies of the future.

What we need is action now: to reduce bills and tackle the climate crisis. Home insulation, heat pump technology, planting trees, expanding renewables – the solutions are there for a government that's able to see them.