Case for new oil and gas fields 'unanswerable' amid threat of Putin - Alister Jack

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Scotland should consider opening new oil and gas fields as the case for continuing to extract hydrocarbons is “unanswerable” in the face of Vladimir Putin, the Scotland Secretary has said.

Speaking to the Scottish Conservative conference on Saturday morning, Alister Jack said it was “astonishing” that the SNP had brought the anti-oil and gas Greens

into government.

He added that it was fortunate that energy was still reserved to allow the UK Government to continue opening new oil and gas fields.

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The Secretary of State for Scotland told Tory members: “It is also right that we consider green-lighting the development of new oil and gas fields.

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack spoke to Scottish Tory members in Aberdeen.Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack spoke to Scottish Tory members in Aberdeen.
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack spoke to Scottish Tory members in Aberdeen.

“The argument for carefully using our own resources was strong before Putin invaded Ukraine but now I believe it is unanswerable.

“There must be a future for oil and gas as we transition to net zero.”

He added: “It is astonishing we have a Scottish Government that is opposed to developing our oil and gas resources.

“But that’s the price Nicola Sturgeon has paid for going into power with the Greens.

“Fortunately, oil and gas is the responsibility of the UK Government – so Scotland will not have to pay the price for her misguided move.”

His speech came the day after Boris Johnson spoke to members at the conference in Aberdeen, just a week after Douglas Ross withdrew his letter of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

However, this was not mentioned by Mr Jack who used his speech to extoll the virtues of ‘levelling up’ and criticise the SNP’s approach to working with the UK Government.

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Mr Jack said: “I’m delighted that we wave goodbye to the days when funding was based on priorities set in Brussels and we now welcome in a new era where local people, the people who know best, decide what works for them.

“The real devolution I’m talking about is one that stands in stark contrast to the centralising SNP-Green government. Hoarding decision-making and resources in Edinburgh.”

The Dumfries and Galloway MP also accused the SNP of demanding a “freshly brewed grievance” on a daily basis.

He added: “They may not be able to manufacture a ferry, ladies and gentlemen, but believe me they sure know how to manufacture a grievance.”

The Scottish Greens criticised the speech, calling the oil and gas comments a “completely contemptible attempt to revive fossil fuels”.

Maggie Chapman said: “Over the last 10 years the Conservatives have ruthlessly used energy to play political games, firstly with Osborne’s decision to prioritise gas which is what’s landed us in this mess, and now this completely contemptible attempt to revive fossil fuels by exploiting the Ukraine crisis.

"I’ll take no lessons from the Tories on energy security. They see energy simply as a way to increase the profits of the big bosses in oil and gas at the expense of people struggling to heat their homes.

"Proper investment in renewables will help tackle the climate emergency, drive down energy prices, and ensure we never have to rely on Russian oligarchs for our energy security."

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