UK risks falling into ‘dystopian economic collapse’ over gas supply, former Tory minister says

A former Conservative Foreign Office minister has warned the UK risks falling into a “dystopian economic collapse” amid concerns about the supply of gas from Russia.

Sir Alan Duncan, who has also worked as an energy trader, said “we have to pull the emergency cord” in order to sustain gas supplies across Europe.

He warned the government to be cautious “not to sanction ourselves” amid calls for further measures against the Kremlin for its brutal invasion of Ukraine.

It comes after the US secretary of state Antony Blinken said a ban on imports of Russian oil were in “very active discussion”, but sanctions against natural gas are thought to be much less likely.

According to data from Eurostat, around a quarter of Europe’s oil imports and around 46 per cent of its gas came from Russia in the first part of last year. The UK is less reliant on Russia for both but prices largely mirror those in Europe.

Speaking on Monday, Sir Alan claimed: “It’s not oil that matters nearly as much as gas. My message would be we have to pull the emergency and get all hands on deck to sustain supplies of gas across Europe”.

Pointing to changes in the gas sector on Monday morning, Sir Alan told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that the price had nearly doubled in last two-to-three hours.

“That is now setting back, and I’m sure it’ll settle further, but it’s dramatically more than it was at the beginning of the weekend,” he said.

In a warning to political leaders, he went on: “This a very difficult message when I say this, we’ve got to be careful not to sanction ourselves.

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Sir Alan added: “There is this auction of indignation, which all of us totally understand, against anything to do with Russia.

This graphic shows the countries Ukrainian refugees are fleeing to

(Press Association Images)

“So they ban this, ban that and ban everything, but in the end, we’re going to end up banning our own supplies.

“Now, we of course, want to disadvantage Russia as an essential tool of war. But we don’t want to so disadvantage ourselves so that we fail into some kind of dystopian economic collapse. We are on the edge of that.

“Now, for instance, there are subsidiary companies of Gazprom, which are not sanctioned, which are not incorporated in Russia, which are incorporated in one case in the UK, which are essential to the smooth flowing of gas.”

However, one of Sir Alan’s former Conservative colleagues, Rory Stewart, posed on social media: “It is tragic that the West continues to pay Putin billions for oil and gas — propping up his regime and invasion.

“We must now stop importing oil and gas from Russia — it is the single most concrete and effective measure we could take.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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