In the Commons earlier John Redwood, the Conservative former cabinet minister, urged Kwasi Kwarteng to increase gas storage capacity in the UK. He said:
We have tiny capacity compared to the most advanced countries and it would provide a buffer to smooth supplies and keep prices down if this turns out, as we hope it will be, to be a short-term interruption to supplies from Russia and America.
And Steve Baker, another Conservative former minister, said the government should increase shale gas production.
Kwarteng told Redwood that storage was an issue, but that there was no need to panic. And he told Baker there was currently a moratorium on shale gas production.
The next statement is from Grant Shapps, who is making a statement about the changes to the new Covid travel rules announced on Friday. Again Sir Lindsay Hoyle complains about a big announcement being made outside the Commons and briefed to the media in advance. Shapps says the decision was only taken on Friday, when the Commons was not sitting.
Speaker criticises Kwarteng for holding back key energy announcement until later
The statement is over, but Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, rises to make a point of order. He says it is not acceptable for Kwarteng to appear in the Commons, but not tell MPs what will be in the joint statement with Ofgem later.
Kwarteng says the statement is not finalised. He says there will be opportunities for MPs to question him later this week.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, says that is not acceptable that MPs are not told first.
Mark Harper (Con) says he wants to be able to question a minister about what is announced. He says a third of his constituents are off the grid, and not protected by the price cap, so this is important to them.
Hoyle lets rip again. He asks his clerks to ensure that Kwarteng gets a copy of the ministerial code, with the passage about how important government announcements have to be made to MPs first underlined.
Kwarteng says that the Ofgem announcement coming later is not just for his department. It has to be agreed across government, he says.
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chair of the defence committee, asks if Russia is manipulating gas prices for its own advantages.
Kwarteng says it is not for him to comment on Russian policy or to speculate on their motives. He says the UK has security of supply.
Kwarteng says after he has finished this statement he will be speaking to the devolved administrations.
The SNP’s Patricia Gibson asks again about what happened to Boris Johnson’s promise that Brexit would lead to lower energy bills.
Kwarteng says he is not here to refight the 2016 Brexit campaign. The result should be accepted, in the SNP’s case with good grace, he says.
Matthew Offord (Con) asks why no one in government anticipated this.
Kwarteng does not accept that. He says government prepared for many scenarios.
This is from Giles Wilkes, a former special adviser to Vince Cable when he was business secretary.
Neale Hanvey (Alba) asks if the government will set up a state-owned energy company.
Kwarteng says government is looking at all option, but says he would prefer to rely on “market-based solutions”.
Jamie Stone (Lib Dem) asks at what level the price cap will be maintained.
Kwarteng says that is not up to him. That is for Ofgem, he says.
Kwarteng warns gas prices could stay high ‘for longer than people anticipate’
Bim Afolami (Con) asks Kwarteng how long gas prices will remain high.
Kwarteng says it would be “foolhardy” to protect what the gas price will be tomorrow. If he could predict prices far ahead, he would be a gas trader, he says. But he says gas prices “could be high for longer than people anticipate, just as they could fall very quickly”.
Bob Seely (Con) says asks to what extent the UK is suffering “collateral damage” because of Russia “weaponising” its gas supply in a bid to get the EU to accept Nord Stream 2. He says this is hybrid warfare.
Kwarteng says the UK is not “at the mercy of Russian gas”. Half of gas used here is produced domestically, he says. He says another 30% comes from Norway, and 18% from LNG (liquefied natural gas).