Sir Ian Wood’s explosive intervention in the independence debate is being hailed by Labour as “the most important moment of the campaign”.
Energy Voice’s exclusive interview with the Aberdeen-based oil services businessman set the agenda in the referendum battle on Thursday, dominating first minister’s questions at Holyrood.
Sir Ian – former chairman of the Wood Group and a leading figure in the North Sea offshore sector – claimed in the interview that the SNP was overestimating the amount of oil left by 60%.
Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander will compare its impact to “Black Wednesday” in 1992, when the Conservative government was left humiliated by Britain’s enforced withdrawal from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Speaking in Dumfries, he will said: “Sir Ian Wood’s comments represent the most important moment of the campaign so far.
“The growth of modern nationalism was powered by claims about North Sea oil. For the North Sea’s foremost expert to say that the SNP are overestimating the amount of oil left by 60% leaves the entire economic case for independence in ruins just days before the postal votes arrive.
“This was Alex Salmond’s Black Wednesday moment, when blind faith collided with cold hard fact.
“Sir Ian said that he felt the need to enter the debate as he could not stand by any longer and allow our country’s future to be based on hopelessly exaggerated predictions and promises that simply could not be delivered.
“It is the moment that the SNP must have dreaded. An impartial Scottish figure, independent of the two campaigns but with a reputation and a level of expertise that is beyond challenge, reluctantly, but forcefully tearing apart the nationalists’ claims about the North Sea’s future.
“As we enter the final weeks of this campaign, the ever decreasing number of people who have yet to make up their minds will now know that the SNP’s claims about the NHS, our schools and the future under independence are based on blind faith and false figures.”