ALISTER Jack exhibited “menacing behaviour” by keeping Tory plans for a new nuclear plant in Scotland a secret from the Scottish Government, the First Minister has said.

John Swinney condemned the Tory Scottish Secretary for failing to tell ministers at Holyrood of the plans – saying it was “utterly and completely incompatible with good intergovernmental working”.

The SNP leader also confirmed his government would have “nothing to do with nuclear power” as he spoke at First Minister’s Questions.

It came after Jack, speaking to the Lords Constitution Committee on Wednesday, said he had asked ministers at the Department for Energy and Net Zero to plan for a nuclear reactor to be built in Scotland as part of a UK-wide programme.

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Although the SNP oppose new nuclear stations in Scotland, Jack claimed there would be a “Unionist regime” at Holyrood after the 2026 elections.

Swinney was asked about the comment by SNP MSP Rona Mackay. She said: “This week, the Secretary of State for Scotland confirmed that planning is underway to develop new nuclear reactors in Scotland despite opposition …”

Here the Presiding Officer had to ask for quiet as the Tory benches cheered.

Mackay went on: “Despite opposition from the democratically elected Scottish Government. Scotland doesn't need expensive nuclear power. We already have abundant natural energy resources.

“Can the First Minister advise if the UK Government has approached Scottish ministers about these apparent plans?”

Responding, Swinney said: “I'm often lectured in this parliament about the importance of good intergovernmental relations. The Secretary of State for Scotland has made no mention of this proposal to the Scottish Government.

“This is utterly and completely incompatible with good intergovernmental working and is illustrative of the damaging behaviour, the menacing behaviour, of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will not support new nuclear power stations in Scotland.”

Swinney added that “supporting the announcements of formidable investments in the renewable energy potential of Scotland” was “the policy agenda of this government, and we have nothing to do with nuclear power”.

The Tories’ plans for a new nuclear plant were also condemned by Lynn Jamieson, the chair of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

Jamieson said: "Scottish CND condemns the Conservative plan to build a new nuclear power station in Scotland.

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“The claim, nuclear power helps climate change, is a dishonest gloss over the support this industry gives to the UK’s nuclear-weapon programme and harms of its toxic processes, uranium mining, and legacies of nuclear waste.

“This is without pointing out that the tons of concrete, enormous costs and slow time scales are also all a total mismatch with the immediate urgency of the climate emergency. All of this, in climate terms, makes it as mad as investing in new oil fields.”

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell further said: “There is nothing safe, secure or green about nuclear energy, and many people across Scotland will be dismayed and angry to hear that the Secretary of State is seeking to open a new reactor in Scotland.

“Aside from the brazen entitlement and the message this sends, it ignores that people in Scotland have long rejected nuclear energy. I hope that all progressive parties will unite in condemning this environment wrecking overreach.”