Conservative MPs are facing criticism for voting down an amendment that would have stopped raw sewage being dumped into rivers.Advertisement
An image being shared on social media shows how Lancashire MPs voted.
Katherine Fletcher, Conservative MP for South Ribble, and Mark Menzies, Conservative MP for Fylde, both voted against the amendment.
At the time of publication Blog Preston hadn’t received a response to a request for comment from either MP. However Katherine Fletcher had retweeted a link to the texts from the bill, and a ‘short explainer thread’ for ‘people commenting on the Environment Bill’.
When asked about the vote Sir Mark Hendrick, Labour and Co-operative MP for Preston, told Blog Preston: “I was ‘slipped’ by the whips not to be present at the time the sewage amendment was being voted on, because I was making a speech at that time to a Fabian meeting.
“However, I voted against the Environment Bill as a whole later that evening, which included the aforementioned amendment on sewage.”
A spokesperson for Nigel Evans, Conservative MP for Ribble Valley, said: “Given Nigel’s role as Deputy Speaker of The House of Commons he does not vote in legislation passing through the House as he must remain impartial.”
Blog Preston did not receive a response from Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence and Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, who also did not vote.
Currently waste can be released from the sewage system and into rivers and coastal waters when there is heavy rainfall. This is to avoid the sewage backing up into people’s homes. According to Environment Agency data, this happened more than 400,000 times in England last year.
While most of the amendment passed, a requirement for sewage companies to ‘take all reasonable steps to ensure untreated sewage is not discharged from storm overflows’ was removed.
The vote to change the wording passed by 268 votes to 204, with all of the votes in favour coming from Conservative MPs.
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