TENDRING’S Tory MPs voted against a bid by the Labour Party to ban fracking.

Both Clacton MP Giles Watling and Harwich and North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin voted again the move.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial technique for recovering gas and oil from shale rock as it can cause earth tremors.

Labour’s fracking ban motion was defeated by 230 votes to 326.

Clacton MP Giles Watling said: “What I voted for was to ease-up on the ban on fracking.

“We have the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis which is driven by the cost of oil.

“We need to be energy efficient as soon as we can, so let’s get fracking going while also working on getting more renewables going.

“We should have more renewables and nuclear power as soon as possible.

“But we have taken our foot off the gas with that – we were world leaders and now we are not.”

Sir Bernard added: "We don't yet know what contribution shale gas could make to the security of supply for gas.

"Everybody knows that gas is an essential transition fuel to Net Zero and if we can produce more of our own gas and import more we would be less vulnerable to disruption of supply that we are likely to have this winter.

"Secondly, Labour was trying to take control of the business of the House which is properly under control of the Government.

"This mirrored the chaos that we had under Theresa May and the Government was right to resist that.

"Thirdly, at the time I voted, understood this to be a vote of confidence in the Government."

Climate minister Graham Stuart told the Commons minutes before the vote that “quite clearly this is not a confidence vote”, despite Mr Whittaker earlier issuing a “100% hard” three-line whip, meaning any Tory MP who rebelled could be thrown out of the parliamentary party.

No 10 later said Mr Stuart had been “mistakenly” told by Downing Street to say the vote should not be treated as a confidence motion, and that Conservative MPs were “fully aware” it was subject to a three-line whip.

A spokesman said the whips would be speaking to the Tories who failed to support the Government, and those without a “reasonable excuse” would face “proportionate disciplinary action” – although that does not necessarily mean whey would have the whip removed.

The confusion led to ugly scenes at Westminster, with Cabinet ministers Therese Coffey and Jacob Rees-Mogg among a group of senior Tories accused of pressuring colleagues to go into the “no” lobby, with Labour former minister Chris Bryant saying some MPs were “physically manhandled into another lobby and being bullied”.

Business Secretary Mr Rees-Mogg insisted he had seen no evidence of anyone being manhandled, but senior Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said what took place was “inexcusable” and “a pitiful reflection on the Conservative Parliamentary Party”.

Ms Trevelyan told Sky News it is “never acceptable” for MPs to be “manhandled” into voting, adding she was “shocked” by reports from the Commons.

She said Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle would be investigating “to ensure that these scenes and indeed these situations do not happen again”.