The pro-fracking former Labour MP, Natascha Engel, is the new commissioner for shale gas, the government announced yesterday.
Ms Engel initially opposed fracking when Ineos announced plans to explore for shale gas in the village of Marsh Lane in her constituency in January 2017.
She later visiting shale gas sites in Pennsylvania and switched sides in the debate. Within months, she lost her seat in the general election to the Conservative, Lee Rowley, who opposed fracking in the constituency. It was the first time the area was held by the Conservatives since 1935.
Engel ran a lacklustre campaign for the 2017 General election where at the time it was rumoured she had no interest in winning. It was also widely rumoured she had secured employment with Ineos the fracking company carrying out exploration drilling at the Marsh Lane site in Eckington.
I was aware personally of some issues with the sitting MP of North East Derbyshire during the 2017 General election campaign I had been asked personally by members of her campaign team if I could revamp and update Engles digital profile including her website and social media pages. I had agreed to do this Pro gratis, however, the campaign members that had initially approached me had to embarrassingly explain Natashia Engel had stalled in the project to the point it no longer mattered the GE was drawing to a close.
People opposing Ineos plans at Marsh Lane expressed astonishment about Ms Engel’s appointment this evening.
David Kesteven, of Eckington Against Fracking, said:
“I cannot believe this. There is a lot of mirth in the area this evening.
“The shale gas commissioner should be an important position.
“I would have thought they could have found someone with technical knowledge or scientific background, rather than a failed politician.
“But Natascha Engel doesn’t have the technical knowledge of fracking. She has destroyed the Labour Party locally. She has betrayed her constituents by going against Labour policy on shale gas.
“It seems as if they have got Natascha Engel because they could not get anyone else. It beggars belief that they could have chosen her.”
Many local campaigners have pointed out that Engles can hardly be impartial a direct quote from a Marsh Lane anti fracking campaigner:
“Dream on she has absolutely no chance of doing what she is been appointed to do.
She sold out the community she was elected to represent and she then paid the price of her treachery. She is viewed as a judas and that will never change what ever false title they bestow on her.”