East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson in fracking row

A row has blown up over a? local MP’s acceptance of cash donations from a fracking businessman.

John Devlin 04/10/14. GLASGOW. Liberal Democrats hold annual conference in Glasgow. Jo Swinson MP Liberal Democrats, East Dunbartonshire. The 2014 autumn Liberal Democrat party conference takes place this year at the SECC, in Glasgow. The conference is expected to debate a number of controversial issues in which there are likely to be passionate differences of opinion and may therefore be taken as a litmus test of the party's political mood.

It was revealed at the weekend that East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson accepted a £10,000 donation from Mark Petterson in July 2017 and another £4,000 in January.

Petterson is a director of Warwick Energy Ltd – a firm with fracking licences across England.

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Ms Swinson, who is bidding to become Lib Dem leader, has been accused of hypocrisy as her website says she has “campaigned tirelessly to save our environment” and “took to the streets with environmental activists Extinction Rebellion”.

Local opposition politician, Strathkelvin and Bearden MSP Rona Mackay has called on Ms Swinson to issue a full explanation to 

East Dunbartonshire has a strong contingent of anti-fracking campaigners.

In 2017, “Torrance Against Fracking”, a local group 
dedicated to stop fracking in the area, helped deliver a 5,000-strong petition to 
Holyrood. It asked Scottish Government Cabinet Ministers to ban fracking in Scotland.

Public protests has led to the Scottish Government 
imposing a moratorium on fracking over environmental fears.

Ms Mackay said: “Jo Swinson has some brass neck. She’s waving a ‘save the planet’ flag in one hand while grabbing cash from fracking companies with the other.

“Just a few years ago, she voted against plans to block fracking in England. Voters will be right to question the credibility of her bid to 
become the next Lib Dem leader.

“The strength of feeling against fracking in Scotland is clear – this issue really matters to people and their communities.

“So it’s only right Ms Swinson issues a full explanation to her constituents.”

A spokesperson for the Jo Swinson said that all donations from long-standing supporter Mark Petterson have been on a personal level.

Ms Swinson added: “I’m absolutely opposed to fracking, second, the donations were from an individual and third, if you want to talk about the company, it’s a renewable energy company, not a fracking company, 80% of their work is in renewables. It’s the sort of desperate smear that degrades our politics. I want our politics to be better than this.”