The Tories have a long history of letting down Copeland. The Moorside project collapsed because of lack of Government support. The unelected Tory mayor has withdrawn the High Streets Fund bid. Tory cuts to our NHS and schools have been brutal. Bus routes and police gone. And, of course the Conservatives decimated British mining communities under Thatcher.

Now there is the mine. Like other Labour councillors in Copeland I support the mine but there is a lot of fake news going around coming from Tory politicians.

Cumbria County Council has not “stopped the mine”— they have been forced to bring back the decision to the committee stage because of planning laws (which are set by the Conservative Government) and information and guidelines on climate control (also set and published by the Government).

The Government sets the laws and guidelines that councils operate within. The county council approved the mine in October, and were then informed that they could not issue the decision until the Conservative Secretary of State had decided whether he wanted to review the decision.

Meanwhile, the same Government published a paper on climate commitments in December, which is what has prompted this to go back before the committee alongside a threat of legal action.

The committee that will decide upon the mine is composed of eight Tories, five Labour and three Lib-Dem councillors. One of few to vote against the mine originally was a Conservative Cumbria councillor who is now the group leader of the Conservatives on the county council.

As with Moorside, if the Conservative Government wanted the mine to go ahead they could change the law, update their guidelines/information accordingly or get involved — but they aren’t.

If the Government wanted to take the matter out of local hands and approve the mine as a project of significant infrastructure they have the power to, and the mine would happen quicker — but as with Moorside, they won’t.

If Trudy Harrison, the unelected Conservative mayor Mike Starkie and Mark Jenkinson were really serious about the mine they would pick up the phone to Johnson – but they aren’t, because they know, just like with Moorside, the Government won’t act.

The Labour-led county council has already approved the mine. When it comes back before the development panel there is every chance that they will again — even if some Conservative members vote against it (again).

Just like with Moorside, the Conservative Government have the authority to step in, right now, and make it happen. They always have had. But they won’t.

Like with their handling of the pandemic, they blame others, outsource decisions, pretend they have no power – and passively watch things happen.