James Forsyth

The next PM must be ready for Putin

The next PM must be ready for Putin
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Westminster is understandably obsessed with the question of who makes the final two of the Tory leadership race, but today has also brought a reminder of the crises that the new Prime Minister will have to deal with from day one. 

The European Commission is calling on all EU member states to cut gas use by 15 per cent to prepare for supply cuts from Russia through Nord Stream 1, which reopens tomorrow. With the pipeline only flowing at limited levels, and the heatwave leading to higher energy use than usual, Germany will not be able to lay in stores for the winter. This means that Vladimir Putin will constantly try and use energy as a weapon in the coming months, threatening to cut off supplies completely if the West does this or that in support of Ukraine. The price of energy will continue to shoot up in Europe, putting households under pressure and making various forms of economic activity unprofitable. I suspect there will be huge pressure this autumn on governments to bail out various industries.

The West must do what it can to handle the Russian energy threat. This means extending the life of nuclear power plants wherever possible, as well as pushing for as much more renewable energy use.