A FORMER deputy chairman of the Conservative Party has claimed that coal is a “sustainable” fuel because it was once made up of “trees and plants”.

Speaking at the launch of a new Tory faction – the so-called Popular Conservatives – Lee Anderson said he wanted to see the opening of coal mines as well as fracking in the UK.

The Tory MP for Ashfield said: “I am an ex-coal miner and I’m one of these people that want to see our pits open. I want to see us frack.

“We’re burning coal in our power stations but it’s foreign coal that comes over on big tankers. How is that contributing to net zero? It’s an absolute nonsense. It gets me very, very angry.”

Anderson then claimed that the burning of imported wood pellets at Drax Power Station in Yorkshire was less sustainable than burning coal from UK mines.

READ MORE: PopCon: Liz Truss claims Britain is 'full of secret Conservatives'

“They say these wood pellets are sustainable because they’re trees, we can grow them again,” he said.

“Now, I’m pretty sure that coal a hundred million years ago was trees and plants. Is that right, Jacob [Rees-Mogg]?

“It was. So, I would argue that that’s sustainable.”

Anderson later claimed that people “aren’t really bothered” where their energy supply comes from.

“That place over there, where we work, the politicians are out of touch with the general public,” he said.

“If you give people the choice [of] cheaper gas, fracked gas, I’m pretty sure they would take it.

“Now, most people get up in the morning go and switch the light on, put the kettle on, or run a shower.

“They’re not really interested in where that electricity or that gas is from, they just want to have a nice cup of tea, [a] bit of breakfast, a shower and get on their way.

“If we can supply that at a much cheaper level then everybody’s a winner.

“People aren’t really bothered where it comes from apart from the odd environmentalist”.

It comes after scientists officially declared 2023 as the hottest year on record, with July 2023 thought likely to be the hottest month in the past 120,000 years.

They urged global leaders to radically cut fossil fuel emissions to prevent as much warming as possible.