By Lucy Ashton
Scottish Green chief Patick Harvie, pictured right, has been branded “oblivious” to the risk of mass unemployment after boasting he helped change Nicola Sturgeon’s mind on North Sea oil.
The First Minister’s power-sharing partner claimed his party “being in the room” had led to her dramatic shift on the controversial Cambo development and future drilling.
Scottish Tories slammed the “gloating” Green minister’s remarks and said it was further evidence of his party’s “extremist” influence in government.
It came after Ms Sturgeon was warned her new opposition to exploitation risked 100,000 Scots jobs and a voters’ backlash.
Former SNP spin doctor and election candidate Fergus Mutch said rejecting Cambo would be worse for the environment and severely harm the economy.
He said a lot of SNP members will have “serious reservations” about her comments.
Trade body Oil and Gas UK has warned stopping domestic production will increase reliance on imports, at a cost to jobs, environment and taxpayers.
For weeks, the First Minister has urged Boris Johnson to review the drilling licence for the Cambo field off Shetland while refusing to state whether she personally opposed the development.
The First Minister went further saying: “I don’t think we can continue to give the go-ahead to new oil fields.”
Mr Harvie, who is from Dumbarton, was handed a ministerial role by Ms Sturgeon this year. He told the BBC’s Debate Night programme he was “really glad” to see the “political landscape” moving away “from the idea that the oil and gas industry can last forever.”
He added: “The First Minister’s language was firmer than I’ve ever heard it before on recognising that this is a transition that needs to happen.”
Asked if the shift was down to his place in government Mr Harvie replied: “I would like to think that Greens being in the room, both within government and within parliament has helped to move things in the right direction.
“It’s now only the Conservatives who are isolated in saying that you can have maximum economic extraction, you continue with new oil and gas fields and still take the climate emergency seriously.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s outburst in parliament on Cambo has left the SNP riven with divisions on the issue.
“The First Minister must stop bowing to the whims of the extremist Greens in her government, as their policies are a threat to Scottish jobs.”
“At the centre of all this are thousands of oil and gas workers, who have been abandoned – along with the promise of a fair transition – by the SNP.