‘Playing childish games!’ Nicola Sturgeon blasted in damning letter as oil row boils over

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The First Minister yesterday came under attack from both supporters of the energy sector, who accused her of abandoning the industry, and from environmentalists who said she had not gone far enough. Ms Sturgeon claimed this week that it could not be “business as usual” in light of the “climate emergency”.


But she stopped short of explicitly opposing the huge Cambo oil field off Shetland.

She instead wrote to Boris Johnson calling for existing licences, including Cambo, to be reassessed.

The Scottish Tories yesterday co-opted the SNP’s historic slogan with party leader Douglas Ross accusing Ms Sturgeon of backing a crackdown on North Sea oil and gas to gain a deal with the Greens.

The phrase “it’s Scotland’s oil” was first used by the SNP in the 1970s to promote Scottish independence.


In the letter, he added: “The SNP used to shout from the rooftops that ‘it’s Scotland’s oil’ – now they wish it was gone.

“More than 100,000 jobs depend on Scotland’s oil and gas industry.

“A speedy but sensible transition to Net-Zero is essential to protect those jobs, our communities and the wider economy.

“Where are working-class families supposed to find the cash to pay the higher energy bills that would emerge from abandoning the North Sea sector?

“The oil and gas industry has more detailed plans for reaching Net-Zero than the SNP Government, which has missed its climate change targets three years running.

“As usual, there is a vast gap between the SNP’s words and actions.”

Ms Sturgeon made her intervention on the Cambo issue on Thursday, saying the climate emergency meant there “cannot be business as usual”.

It comes as the SNP administration is currently in talks with the Scottish Green Party over a potential cooperation agreement that could pave the way for the Greens to enter Government for the first time.

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Referring to the ongoing talks, the Moray MP claimed Ms Sturgeon’s letter was “motivated primarily by the constitution, not the climate.”

He continued: “This change of heart is about sealing a nationalist deal with the Greens and provoking a grievance with the UK Government in the run-up to COP26.

“Instead of playing childish political games to further their nationalist interests, the SNP should focus on tackling the Covid economic crisis.”

In response, a spokesperson for Ms Sturgeon said: “We recognise the importance of the North Sea offshore sector to Scotland’s economy – but we also recognise the reality of the climate emergency and the ‘code red for humanity’ which was signalled this week.”

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