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Salmond visit likely to be brief

Salmond visit likely to be brief
FIRST Minister Alex Salmond will be at Offshore Europe today, but is expected to leave by late morning.

FIRST Minister Alex Salmond will be at Offshore Europe today, but is expected to leave by late morning.

He is giving a breakfast speech before visiting exhibitors for about two hours, then leaving for meetings in Edinburgh.

A spokesman for the first minister defended the length of time the Scottish leader planned to stay at OE, and said: “Alex has attended every Offshore Europe since he became an MP, so there is no doubt he takes it very seriously. He always spends a considerable amount of time at these events, and this year will be no exception.

“As well as speaking at the business breakfast, he will be visiting as many exhibitors as possible, specifically those concerning renewable-energy projects and the smaller businesses in the Scottish pavilion.”

A spokeswoman for industry body Oil and Gas UK declined to comment, but Jake Molloy, regional organiser of the RMT union in Aberdeen, said Mr Salmond should spend more time at OE if he wanted greater influence in the energy sector.

He said: “If the first minister was able to influence things in the oil and gas industry to a greater degree then maybe he would give OE more time and interest.

“But the reality is he has got no control over the financial, employment or health and safety policies for the sector, so you could say that he has done well to take time out to launch and promote the event when it is not his responsibility.

“On the other hand, if he wants more influence and more input in the sector, then he should be spending more time at this kind of event.”

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