Make Blackpool Europe’s shale gas centre says Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to “keep the lights on” today and declared plans to make Blackpool a “centre” for shale gas. At the Conservative’s autumn conference in Manchester, the […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to “keep the lights on” today and declared plans to make Blackpool a “centre” for shale gas.

At the Conservative’s autumn conference in Manchester, the Tory leader said his was the “party of the future” and styled the Humber and Blackpool as centres for energy excellence.

Mr Cameron said: “Think of what more we could do with the pistons firing in all parts of our economy. With its wind and wave power, let’s make the Humber the centre of clean energy. With its resources underground, let’s make Blackpool Europe’s centre for the shale gas industry.”

Early in his speech he used a self-deprecating joke about tabloid snaps of his bare-chested beach holiday to undercut his Labour rival Ed Miliband: “You keep your shirt on Ed, I’ll keep the lights on.”

Later he returned to Labour’s pledge to freeze energy prices, criticising the party’s energy “promise which they admitted 24 hours later, they might not be able to keep” as a “sticking plaster”. He dubbed Miliband as “Red Ed and his Blue Peter economy.”

The core of his argument hinged on improving people’s living standards by putting “more money in their pockets” with the creation of more jobs rather than spending more on welfare and the Tory leader name-checked “green jobs” in a list of others which could push forward Britain’s economy.