Barney Crockett, former Lord Provost and leader of Aberdeen Council, said the party’s new policy was “more brutal” than anything Margaret Thatcher did to industrial communities in the 1980s.
CONTINUE READING: Scotland is to be Britain’s ‘beating heart’ under Labor’s clean energy plan
The opposition leader unveiled his green energy plans in Edinburgh on Monday, pledging a Labor government would not agree to new oil and gas licences.
The ban has been criticized by industry and unions, who fear massive job losses among the industry’s 200,000 workers, 90,000 of whom are based in Scotland, many in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Speaking to the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Morning Bulletin, Councilor Crockett said he was “stunned and amused by the events of the last few weeks”.
“The Labor leadership took crucial decisions about the future of the UK, decisions that focused on this area, without contacting anyone from this region or from the local Labor party.”
“Margaret Thatcher has never cracked down on an industry more brutally than Keir Starmer did in Edinburgh,” he added.
“Also, he avoided answering direct questions about Aberdeen. Instead, he turned to Anas Sarwar, who did not provide a specific answer about the city.”
CONTINUE READING: Further disagreements erupt over Starmer’s oil and gas ban plan
Mr Crockett said his decision to step down was not taken lightly.
“It had nothing to do with friends and close colleagues in the Labor Group. No one has more respect than I for all that Labor has accomplished for this city over the past 130 years.
“However, I felt that I couldn’t in good conscience say what I thought of the overall situation while staying in the group.
“This area must fight vigorously to gain some control over its own destiny.”
Sir Keir is already facing a rebellion from party members in the North East over his North Sea stance.
Labor councils in Aberdeen plan to table a motion at the annual conference calling the policy “economically illiterate”.
Tauqeer Malik, the group’s leader on City Council, said the future of the offshore industry would require “much more strategic and careful planning” if a Labor government were elected.
“We have to protect jobs and families. We can’t just throw the baby out with the bath water,” he told The Herald.
Sir Keir confirmed on Monday Labor would recognize all existing licenses by the time of the next election, which has to be held by January 2025. This should also include the controversial new Rosebank project west of Shetland.
Speaking about the change, Sir Keir said he knows “the ghosts that industrial change is bringing to light”.
“Deep down we all know that this has to happen at some point and the only question is when.
“So in all openness, the reality is: now is the moment for decisive action.
“If we wait until the oil and gas from the North Sea is exhausted we will miss out on the opportunities this change can bring for Scotland and your community and that would be a historic mistake.”
CONTINUE READING: Keir Starmer’s oil and gas ban plan faces opposition from sector and unions
Sir Ian Wood, an oil industry veteran, warned that the ban is “very concerning and economically and environmentally damaging”.
He said: “There is absolutely no point in reducing our dependence on domestic oil and gas production only to increase imports from overseas and put tens of thousands of jobs at risk, and yet that is exactly what will happen if that approach is taken.” ”
Ryan Crighton, policy director at the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, once again urged Sir Keir to deliver on his promise to work with business leaders from the North East.
He said: “We have invited the Labor leaders to Aberdeen three times this year but there has been no visit.”
“The party’s involvement in the industry also seems limited – so I have a hard time understanding how they can come up with solutions to something as complex as the energy transition without speaking to the people and companies who will implement them.”
Douglas Lumsden, MP for the Scottish Conservative North East, said: “This is a scathing verdict from one of Aberdeen’s most prominent Labor figures on Keir Starmer’s reckless and economically illiterate plans to decimate the oil and gas industry in the North Sea.”
“It’s hard to believe that Britain’s Labor leader has pushed ahead with plans that would put tens of thousands of workers in the North East under pressure.
“That sums up why Keir Starmer went into hiding earlier this week and detailed his plans to betray the North East in Edinburgh rather than Aberdeen.
“When senior figures from his own party like Barney Crockett leave Labor because their plans would cause great damage to the North East, Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar should be on the alert.”
Labor was asked to comment.