THE Tories’ oil and gas policy is reminiscent of Donald Trump’s “drill baby drill” slogan, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn has said.

The Aberdeen South MP criticised Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s intent to sign off on hundreds of North Sea licences without attaching conditions to the projects to invest in renewable energy.

Flynn also said there should have been stricter climate compatibility checks put in place for future and past projects, adding that he believes the Tories have “let their own dogma” take hold.

Former US president Trump, asked recently by a voter what he would do to bring down high fuel and food prices, used the well-known Republican campaign slogan "drill baby, drill", a nod to an expansion of oil and gas production. 

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Speaking on Global’s Newsagents podcast, Flynn said that despite being pleased the Acorn carbon capture project has finally been given the go-ahead, it shouldn’t be an “excuse to pump harmful gasses into the atmosphere” and likened the Tories' policy to that of Trump's. 

He argued that the key considerations the Prime Minister should have taken on board were regarding energy security, climate compatibility, and the impact on jobs on the North Sea.

Asked if he was cheering on the announcement because of the impact on jobs or despairing due to the climate, Flynn said: “It’s probably a bit more nuanced than that because the way I see it is quite simple.

“An engineer who works offshore is an engineer first and foremost, and if you can create jobs in the renewable sector for them then that’s where the government should be focused.

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“The position that the government have, that Rishi Sunak has, that Grant Shapps has as Energy Secretary, is very much reminiscent of Donald Trump ‘drill baby, drill’ rather than looking at the rounded picture.

“If you focus too much on oil and gas then you’re detracting from potential investment in renewables.”

Flynn added that he did not think the UK Government had taken those issues on board when signalling their intent to grant hundreds of licences.

“I think they’ve let their own dogma, that they need to drill as much as possible … if you look at it through the prism of energy security and climate compatibility that has to be your starting point.

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“I don’t think the Tories are doing that.

“When the Independent Committee on Climate Change are looking at oil and gas usage on that balanced pathway to net zero, what they are effectively saying is it forms part, a declining part, of the energy mix.

“That’s important, you still need to extract some because you’re going to need it, but you shouldn’t be reliant upon it because you should be transitioning.”

The SNP Westminster leader added that if Scotland became independent he would like to see a “pretty sensible and grown-up approach” taken to assess the country’s energy needs.

The National: Sunak made the announcement in Aberdeenshire on MondaySunak made the announcement in Aberdeenshire on Monday (Image: PA)

“I would like to see us take a sensible approach which assesses our energy needs, the climate crisis and indeed those of our allies and say where we need to be,” he said.

“But attached to that, why don’t we have more robust climate compatibility checks than we do at the moment.

“I mean existing licences don’t get climate compatibility checks despite being 10, 20, 30, 40 years old which I think is moderately absurd and should be changed.

“Why is the PM not saying there are 100 licences, why is he not attaching conditions to that, that there needs to be concurrent investment in renewable technologies, be that green hydrogen, offshore wind, onshore wind, tidal, in whatever form you need it to be and they’re just not in that space.

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“This is the problem, they’re going to leave the UK relying on an energy source which is to all intents and purposes a depleting energy source while the rest of the world is getting on investing in renewables.”

Flynn also said he believed the Prime Minister’s use of a private jet to fly from London to Aberdeen for the visit on Monday was “probably unnecessary”.

We previously told how the Tories received millions of pounds from donors with links to fossil fuel interests and climate change denial.

And, young Scottish climate activists hit out at the move and said they were “furious” at the UK Government.