The UK’s climate secretary – who recently said not all fossil fuels are “the devil’s creation” – has received campaign donations from one of the UK’s largest fuel distributors as well as aviation consultants and recruiters, it has emerged.
Graham Stewart, the Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness, was appointed climate minister by Rishi Sunak in September. He is responsible for the net zero strategy and low carbon electricity generation, and is the House of Commons leader for clean heating.
Stewart confounded some during his brief tenure as climate minister by claiming a new wave of oil and gas licensing was “good for the environment” and recently saying that not all fossil fuels should be “considered the devil’s work”.
It has now been revealed that, in 2019, Stewart received a £10,000 re-election campaign contribution from JR Rix & Sons, a Hull-based business that distributes and sells fuel, including heating oil, diesel and petrol.
JR Rix & Sons’ group of companies includes Rix Petroleum, Rix Heating (specializing in the supply and maintenance of tanks and boilers), Rix Shipping (operating a fleet of tankers) and Maritime Bunkering (one of the largest suppliers of marine fuel in the Humber Estuary .
In addition to its fossil fuel-focused subsidiary, Rix says it is also involved in maintenance and carbon measurement of offshore wind farms, and is developing capabilities in low-energy lighting, solar and electric vehicle charging.
In addition, Stewart received a £2,000 donation from Hull aviation consultants Boston Air. Boston Air says 95 percent of its sales are in overseas markets, so UK climate policy is unlikely to affect its business.
The government said Stewart had publicly announced his election-cost contributions in accordance with normal procedures.
The revelation became public record shortly after Stewart told the all-party environment parliamentary group he was firmly behind a new coal mine in Cumbria and backed the latest round of oil and gas licences.
Stewart backed the latter, saying a more nuanced approach to fossil fuels is needed “instead of seeing all fossil fuels as the work of the devil”.
At the same meeting, he said he “has time for climate change skeptics” and doesn’t think they should “be thrown out of the conversation”.
Earlier in the conversation, he called on the UK to “double down on our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, adding: “Climate change is a global problem and we can only succeed if we work together.”
A spokesman for JR Rix & Sons said: “JR Rix & Sons Ltd have supported him on numerous occasions since he was first elected as a popular and active East Yorkshire MP, representing the constituency where many of our staff live.
“The business also supports Graham Stuart’s role as climate minister. As a diversified group of companies, JR Rix & Sons Ltd is active in the renewable energy industry and actively promotes low-carbon HVO as traditional hydrocarbons A cleaner alternative to fuel.”
Rix said it was also a major manufacturer of holiday homes and hotels, “offering people the opportunity to enjoy a luxury holiday in the UK and avoid the carbon emissions of flying”.
“As a 150-year-old business that has thrived through innovation, JR Rix & Sons Ltd will continue to invest in renewable fuels and technologies to support the UK’s goal of net zero emissions.”
Boston Air Group CEO Mark Parks, who also made a personal donation of £2,000 to Stewart, who registered in January 2020, said: “We have decided to support Graham’s campaign because of what he has done in the constituencies where we operate. work based on.
“He was involved in many local initiatives and when he was on the Education Select Committee he did a lot to improve the interaction between our local schools and businesses – which is still very important to us today, 27% of our HQ team Educated at schools in Beverly.
“During his time in international trade, he actively supported our ultimately unsuccessful attempt to retain the so-called AUG license (German labor hire permit), which was revoked at the end of the transition period when the UK decided to leave the EU.”
A government spokesman said: “The Minister publicly announced the contribution to election costs in accordance with usual procedure.
“It is not unusual for ministers to accept donations in their capacity as members of parliament and there are well-established procedures in place to manage conflicts of interest.”