Usually I am delighted when West Cumbria makes the national news. Promoting our strengths nationally and showcasing our achievements, industry and landscape is very important.

As you may have seen, ambitious plans for a mine in West Cumbria hit the headlines this week; specifically the decision by the Labour-run Cumbria County Council to call in the project once more to their planning panel. The panel has already given their approval three times for this project. I was dismayed and confused that they have decided to call it in yet again.

This was, and should be, a planning decision. However, through the actions of the Liberal Democrats and Labour locally and nationally, it has been politicised. This has demonstrated that neither the Liberal Democrats nor Labour have the interests of West Cumbrian businesses, communities and workforce at heart.

West Cumbria’s mine fits perfectly with the Government agenda for net zero by 2050, levelling up, the 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and skilling up our workforce to strengthen regional and local economies. Indeed it is perhaps the job opportunities that this important project would create that would benefit our area the most.

However, it would appear that Labour, locally and nationally, want to stop industrial growth and job creation in our area.

The mining of coking coal would bring huge benefit to Cumbria to and Britain. I have made these arguments against climate change activists a number of times and I will continue to make them.

There is no escaping that coking coal is needed for the production of steel – a product that is essential to underpin a green industrial revolution. It’s used also for cement and electric vehicle battery production; without the mine, more coking coal would have to be transported from other countries, leaving a much larger carbon footprint. Transporting a product that we can produce at home, from countries with some of the worst climate change and health and safety records on the planet, is not the answer for Britain – an environmental world leader.

I will continue to fight for local jobs, the growth of local industry, ensuring that our local economy is strengthened and our local workforce retained in Cumbria and up-skilled.

West Cumbrian residents and businesses deserve more. My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to fight for industry to succeed and create new jobs, in West Cumbria and across the county as a whole.