A UNIONIST spin doctor has been slapped down after he tweeted to attack Lorna Slater, the co-leader of the Scottish Greens.

Paul Sinclair, who has worked with both Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives, took to Twitter to respond to an interview Slater had given to the Press and Journal.

In that interview, the newly elected Green MSP said it was “risky and dangerous” to leave people dependent on oil and gas from the North Sea for their livelihoods as the sector would need to be phased out in the climate change battle.

In a tweet from the Scottish Greens, Slater is quoted as saying: “We all saw how Thatcher’s closing of the coal mines abandoned whole communities and left people destitute. We have the option not to do that."

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Sinclair took issue with this statement, tweeting: “Lorna Slater was 15 and living in Canada when Thatcher left office.”

Many social media users were quick to leap to Slater’s defence, pointing out that “she can read”.

Others said that the former Labour spin doctor appeared not to have “grasped the concept of studying history”.

One Michael Dee wrote: “My son was born in 1994, his masters degree in history has been destroyed by [this] tweet.”

Political commentator Angela Haggerty quipped: "Aye well I hadn't even been born when the Beatles were at their biggest but I still know all the words to Hey Jude."

Dr Sara Rich Dorman, a senior political lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, wrote: "Amazingly, I grew up in Canada in the 70s and 80s and knew all about Thatcher’s policies."

Responding to Sinclair’s post, Scottish Greens media manager Tom Freeman wrote: “Irrelevant. You can still see the impact on the communities abandoned by Thatcher today.

“Unless Paul’s point is that only people who were born in Scotland should talk about it, which seems pretty blood and soil nationalist to me.”

Slater herself replied: “Wait until he finds out I've got views on civil rights, women's suffrage, the Highland clearances and imperial colonialism…”

Despite his attack on Slater’s youth, Sinclair has, by his own admission, been active in politics from the age of 15. He said previously that he had joined the Labour party at that age and was still a member.

He went to work with the Scottish Tories ahead of the 2021 Holyrood elections where his Labour background had initially raised eyebrows but his “committed” support of the Union won out, according to reports in The Herald.

When asked if he was a crypto-Tory, Sinclair said previously: “Nonsense. I joined the Labour party on my 15th birthday and I’m still a member of the Labour party.”

However, The Scotsman reported in 2005 that, after being accused of “hawking his backside round the country" looking for a Labour seat to take in parliament, Sinclair said he had been head of the Conservative Club at Glasgow University.

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The Tories have been vocal in their criticism of the Greens entering government alongside the SNP, saying it will prove terrible for those working in Scotland’s oil and gas industry.

University of Glasgow academic Ewan Gibbs explained: “Slater’s point is that how closures are managed is hugely important.

“Pit closures in the 1960s - when the most jobs were lost - were organised to provide jobs for miners within the remainder of the industry and coordinated with manufacturing inward investment in the coalfields.

“As a result, whilst those earlier closures were hardly welcomed by miners they did not cause the sort of mass unemployment or the deterioration of labour markets for manual workers that the butchering of a modernised and productive coal industry did in the 1980s and 1990s.”