Labour MP with links to water industry denounces nationalisation

Angela Smith, the former shadow Minister for Water, warned that nationalising the water industry could make Britain the "the dirty man of Europe", but has links with major private water providers.

In a broadside against Labour's policy of bringing water back into public ownership in the Guardian, Smith claimed that nationalisation was a "simplistic" solution that should be resisted for fear of catastrophic environmental damage, despite Northern Ireland and Scotland having already done so with no such effect.  

Although Smith does admit that "EU regulations have played a crucial role in raising standards", she claims the "vast costs associated with meeting these standards could not be met by government", despite that being the norm in Germany, a country with higher standards than the UK. 

However, a look at the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge's register of members interests shows close links with the water industry. 

In 2016, Whitehouse construction (a subcontractor of Anglican Water) repeatedly bought Mrs. Smith and her husband and senior researcher, Steven Wilson, tickets and lunch to Sheffield F.C. matches, to the tune of £650. 

Smith also sits as Chair of the all-party water group in parliament, an organisation in part funded by Water UK, Future Water Association, Anglian Water, Wessex Water, and Southern Water.

Smith's claim to be a "passionate environmentalist" are also undercut by her support for fracking, commenting in 2017 on concerns over damage to the environment that shale gas extraction could cause that “I don’t think those fears are justified at all.".

This is despite a 2015 government report finding the practice causes increased air pollution, and in the US the practice has been linked to large-scale water pollution. 

She also sits on the parliamentary group for "Unconventional oil and gas", a body given more than £73k by pro-fracking lobbying firm Hill + Knowlton Strategies.

We have reached out to Angela Smith for a comment, but have not received a response at the time of publication.

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