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Tory MSP slams First Minister for refusal to ditch oil and gas production policy

By Alan Beresford

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North East Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden.
North East Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden.

A NORTH-east Conservative MSP has criticised new First Minister John Swinney for refusing to ditch the SNP policy on oil and gas production.

At FMQs, Scottish Conservative North East MSP Douglas Lumsden questioned Mr Swinney on if he would axe his “damaging policy of presumption against new oil and gas” now that the Greens were no longer part of the government.

However, in his response, the new First Minister said he would be taking “appropriate steps” in response to climate change which “must involve” change for the sector.

In his question Mr Lumsden, the Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, asked: “The extremist Greens have been ditched from government so can the First Minister tell me that the damaging policy of presumption against new oil and gas will also be ditched?”

In response, Mr Swinney said: “We have a climate crisis with us.

“We have to take careful and appropriate steps to respond to that climate crisis. That must involve a just transition for the oil and gas sector.”

Speaking later, Mr Lumsden later said: “Despite being ditched from government, it’s evident the Green tail is still wagging the SNP dog by John Swinney’s refusal to back new oil and gas licences.

“The new First Minister sent a clear message to the oil and gas sector that he is firmly in Nicola Sturgeon’s camp and is more than happy to turn the taps off on an industry that supports thousands of livelihoods across the north-east.

“John Swinney must drop his party’s irresponsible playground politics, back North Sea oil and gas and safeguard our energy security.”

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