Anas Sarwar challenged to ‘walk the talk’ and face concerned oil and gas workers after Starmer pledges to end exploration

05/09/2023
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman and North East MSP Douglas Lumsden

ANAS Sarwar has been challenged to “walk the talk” and face concerned oil and gas workers at Offshore Europe after Keir Starmer pledged to end North Sea exploration.

Scottish Conservative energy spokesman and North East MSP Douglas Lumsden urged Mr Sarwar to attend the major event in Aberdeen following his comments to a group of business leaders in Glasgow last week.

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Despite Labour confirming it would not grant licences to explore new fields in the North Sea if it won the next election, Mr Sarwar claimed there will be “no cliff edge” for oil and gas following concerns about Keir Starmer’s plans for the sector.

The Labour policy, which is also held by the SNP and Greens, has raised fears within the industry and is a move which the Scottish Conservatives say would “devastate” North East Scotland.

Based on the Scottish Government’s energy strategy report, blocking new licences would cost the country’s economy an estimated £6billion by 2030 – around £1,100 for every single Scot – a figure which has been highlighted by David Whitehouse, the chief executive of Offshore Energies UK.

Douglas Lumsden, who will be attending Offshore Europe, said: “Labour’s economically illiterate, short-sighted and destructive proposals for the North East of Scotland are no different to the SNP and the Greens.

“Anas Sarwar is attempting to the pull the wool over the industry’s eyes by trying to distance himself from his leader, Keir Starmer, who wants to throw tens of thousands of skilled workers under the bus.

“If he really means what he says, then he should walk the talk by attending Offshore Europe this week and meet the workers whose livelihoods would be put in jeopardy by his party’s deplorable stance on the matter.

“It’s clear that on this, as on most other issues, Anas Sarwar will say anything to improve their position, but cannot be trusted to hold to it.

“Offshore Europe should also be the perfect opportunity for Gillian Martin to clarify her position on oil and gas as a North East MSP against what the SNP spin machine tells her to do.

“As someone who lives in the North East, she should acknowledge how utterly reckless it would be for her party to turn off the taps in the North Sea when our renewable sources don’t come close to meeting our energy needs.”

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