Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has insisted “oil and gas will play a major part of the energy sector for decades to come” despite the party being set to block new North Sea projects.
And Mr Sarwar told LBC on Monday that if his party was elected in Westminster, under its plans to ban new oil and gas extraction licences a Labour government would not make the same “mistakes” as Margaret Thatcher.
Sir Keir Starmer’s North Sea proposals have been criticised by those in the sector and also by unions who represent North Sea workers.
But the Labour MSP said there was “no suggestion we’re going to turn off the North Sea”.
“I think it’s really important to stress, there will be no cliff edge, oil and gas will play a major part of the energy sector for decades to come.
“And we want to work in partnership with the industry to deliver the green transition,” he told Tonight With Andrew Marr when questioned by the broadcaster about how he plans to replace the 196,000 oil and gas jobs in Scotland.
When asked if there was a possibility of a Labour government issuing new licences if needed for security, the Scottish Labour leader said that if the transition was done right “we will not need those new licences” and the country would be “able to sustain ourselves on the existing oil fields, maximising their lifespan, and working in partnership to create those jobs”.
“And one thing I think is really, really important to stress, there will be no cliff edge, we will not make the same mistake that Thatcher made with the mining industry, where jobs are promised to a community, those jobs never came, people lost their jobs, and many of them never went on to work again,” he said.
“And many of their family members never went on to work again. We will not make that same mistake.”