THE SNP should keep the Scottish Greens “at arm’s length” to protect the economy, Michael Gove has warned.
The Cabinet Office Minister has urged Nicola Sturgeon to rule out any formal agreement with the Greens – claiming the party, co-led by Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie, will put Scotland’s economy under threat.
Mr Gove was speaking in Aberdeen as he visited the net zero technology centre.
He stressed that the oil and gas sector is a key part of Scotland’s future economy, despite the need and statutory commitment to eliminate fossil fuels from the economy.
The SNP and Greens are to continue talks over the summer as to whether a deal can be struck between the parties.
But Mr Gove has warned the Scottish Government about involving the Greens in any arrangement.
He said: “We know that if we’re going to succeed in the future, if we’re going to have the energy mix that we need and the economic growth that we need, then oil and gas are going to be part of that mix for the future.
“The Greens are anti-oil and gas, anti-growth, anti-jobs, anti-investment, anti-the North East, anti-Aberdeen.
“I hope that the SNP keep them at arm’s length because I do not believe that a formal SNP-Green compact would be good for the North East or good for jobs.”
Mr Gove spoke during his visit north of the border to “mark a significant stage in the march towards the opening of our biohub centre” as part of the Aberdeen City Deal, helped by £10m from both the UK and Scottish governments.
He told journalists that the facility will play a role in “helping to ensure that we can move towards a net zero North Sea”.
But the Greens have rubbished Mr Gove’s claims, insisting the party is committed to transitioning industries and jobs to more sustainable technologies.
Maggie Chapman, Scottish Greens North East Scotland MSP, said: “The Scottish Greens have shown how we can tackle the climate emergency by delivering a fair transition that supports oil and gas workers to move into the clean industries of the future and leaves no one behind.
“I was elected by the people of the north east to deliver that transition just last month and if I have to put Michael Gove’s nose out of joint to do so then so be it.”