The UK will have to rely on "henchman, hangmen and head-choppers" to buy its gas if a Labour government bans fracking in England, the GMB has warned. The trade union made the critical remarks after Barry Gardiner, the party's shadow energy secretary, unveiled the controversial policy to Labour's annual conference in Liverpool this morning (26 September).

"Britain needs gas. The first fracked gas from America arrives tomorrow at Grangemouth.
Carting gas across oceans is not good from the environment and not good for security of supply in the UK," said Gary Smith, GMB Scotland secretary.

"Given we will need gas to heat our homes and power industry, the question is therefore where are we going to get our gas from. We are increasingly going to be dependent on regimes fronted by henchmen, hangmen and head-choppers for the gas we need.

"That isn't ethical and is surely an abdication of our environmental and moral responsibilities."

The row comes just days after Jeremy Corbyn retained the Labour leadership, defeating Owen Smith. The former shadow work and pensions secretary was backed by the GMB, which has more than 622,000 members.

The government supports shale extraction, with Energy Minister Jesse Norman arguing that Labour was "totally divided" over the issue.

"As Labour themselves have said, the safe development of shale can create jobs and improve our energy security – that's why the government supports shale and will ensure local residents benefit from the proceeds," he said.

"Labour are totally divided over how to provide the energy our country needs, and even Labour-supporting unions say their plans 'will not keep the lights on'.

"Labour are not a credible alternative government and they have nothing to offer as we work to build a country that works for everyone."

Chemicals giant Ineos told IBTimes UK last week that shale gas exploration could revive former mining towns in the North of England. "We have noticed first-hand how the 'shale economy' has revitalised US manufacturing, and our ambition is closely aligned with achieving those objectives in the UK," said Tom Pickering, director of Ineos Upstream.