The co-leader of the Scottish Green party has been forced to backtrack after criticising a political opponent for meeting with Oil and Gas UK (OGUK).
On Twitter, Lorna Slater took aim at Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, after a picture was shared of him at OGUK’s offices where he was discussing the industry’s “central role” in the energy mix.
She referenced Mr Sarwar’s opposition to the planned Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland, and accused him of changing his tune.
But it later transpired that Ms Slater had met with OGUK back in July, a point that was quickly brought to light on Twitter.
Scottish Government Greens minister Lorna Slater slags off Scottish Labour's leader for having a meeting with industry body Oil & Gas UK.
Ms Slater had a meeting with Oil & Gas UK in July.
You couldn't make this stuff up.
— Chris Musson (@ChrisMusson) November 27, 2021
— John Duncan (@livvyjohn) November 27, 2021
In response, the Lothian Region MSP said: “I’ve spoken publicly about how the Oil and Gas lobby were among the first people to approach me and ask for a meeting after I was elected.
“I listened to their pitch and set them straight: to meet our climate targets oil and gas have to be phased out as part of a just transition.”
She also said she “slagged him (Mr Sarwar) off” for being in a “promotional photo” that supported the oil and gas industry.
I've spoken publicly about how the Oil and Gas lobby were among the first people to approach me and ask for a meeting after I was elected. I listened to their pitch and set them straight: to meet our climate targets oil and gas have to be phased out as part of a #JustTransition https://t.co/PRflT2CcAW
— Lorna Slater (@lornaslater) November 28, 2021
This led to more condemnation, with many Twitter users questioning her choice of words, and others pointing to meetings between OGUK and SNP politicians.
Wow, "I slagged him off", are you 12 or a Government minister?
— ®️ico ®️eid 😷 (@ricoreid959) November 28, 2021
Not really suitable language for a senior politician
— Ribeye Burns (@AlJames63641441) November 28, 2021
The SNP entered into a cooperation agreement with the Scottish Greens following the most recent Holyrood election earlier this year.
Will Lorna Slater be slagging off her SNP colleagues as well?
They’ve met with Oil & Gas UK seven times this year:
Fiona Hyslop (x2),
Fergus Ewing (x2),
Jackie Dunbar & Audrey Nicola (joint) https://t.co/i8BlTjdGRv
— Maurice Golden (@mgoldenmsp) November 28, 2021
Questions too were raised about how she planned to carry out her ministerial duties without meeting industry leaders.
Apart from the obvious charge of rank hypocrisy how can Lorna Slater expect to discharge her ministerial duties if meeting industry leaders is now off limits?
Playground politics at its worst: time the Greens grew up. https://t.co/q1q238AAHn
— Craig Hoy MSP (@CraigWHoy1) November 28, 2021
The Scottish Greens have been among the most ardent critics of the oil and gas sector.
In its 2021 manifesto, the party set out its opposition to issuing new licences for exploration and development, to revoke undeveloped licences and to end subsidies for the industry.
It also pledged to “challenge the Scottish Government’s backdoor funding” of the sector through “channels such as the Oil and Gas Technology Centre”.
The Greens bagged eight regional seats in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, including in the North East.