Tories accuse SNP and Labour of throwing the North East “under a bus” over oil and gas

Labour to block new licences for North Sea oil and gas
The Conservatives are accusing the SNP and Labour of throwing the North East under a bus. Image: Press Association.The Conservatives are accusing the SNP and Labour of throwing the North East under a bus. Image: Press Association.
The Conservatives are accusing the SNP and Labour of throwing the North East under a bus. Image: Press Association.

The Scottish Conservatives have accused both Labour and the SNP of “throwing the North East under a bus” by opposing new licences for North Sea oil and gas.

Last week the UK Labour Party said it would oppose all new licences for oil and gas exploration if they win the next general election.

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The latest polling puts Labour on 44 per cent compared to the Conservatives on 29 per cent, making it likely Sir Keir Starmer and Labour will get the keys to Number 10.

Liam Kerr MSP.Liam Kerr MSP.
Liam Kerr MSP.

Following this announcement Scottish Labour said it would not impose a “cliff edge” end to the oil and gas industry in Scotland, but added it supported the UK Labour Party’s stance on the issue.

This comes after the SNP-Green government in Holyrood said there should be a presumption against all new oil and gas exploration.

Liam Kerr, the Scottish Conservatives’ energy spokesman and an MSP for the North East, says both parties’ policies would cause “economic self harm” and force the UK to rely on oil and gas imports from overseas.

His party are now getting ready to lead a debate on this in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 7 June. They are expected to say oil and gas will “inevitably” be part of Scotland’s energy mix for years to come and must be part of the just transition to net zero.

Speaking exclusively to Scotland on Sunday, Mr Kerr said: “Adopting Labour and the SNP’s illogical, ideological opposition to any future oil and gas projects in the North Sea would amount to an act of economic self-harm.

“It would also be environmentally harmful, offshoring our climate responsibilities.

“We all want to see a just transition to net zero - but ‘just’ has to be the operative word.

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“There is nothing ‘just’ in pursuing unevidenced, ignorant dogma which would throw the communities of North East Scotland under a bus by halting all future oil and gas projects.”

He said if Labour and the SNP pursue these policies when it comes to oil and gas, tens of thousands of skilled workers would be “abandoned overnight”.

Mr Kerr also said both parties are assuming the UK’s energy needs can be met through renewable energy alone.

He added: “As anyone with an ounce of knowledge about the sector knows, we’re nowhere near that point yet.

“Banning domestic extraction now would simply mean us having to import fossil fuels from abroad, increasing our carbon footprint in the process and shamefully offshoring our climate responsibilities.”

Around 97 per cent of Scotland’s electricity comes from renewable sources, mainly wind.

He added his party’s debate on oil and gas next week will bring the issue “back to the top of the political agenda” and go some way to defending “energy security and tens of thousands of jobs”.

In response a spokeswoman for Scottish Labour said: “This is a desperate attack from a party that has been a non-stop disaster for Scotland’s economy and our communities.

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“We recognise that the skills of those who work in the sector will play an important role in the transition to net zero.

“Labour’s transformational plans will invest in the jobs and industries of the future and unleash Scotland’s potential as a world leader in renewables.”



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