SNP MSP defies party with Cambo oil field stance

A Lothians SNP MSP has broken away from his own party’s position to declare his opposition to the Cambo oil field near Shetland.

Paul McLennan – the newly-elected MSP for East Lothian – told a recent environmental event in Edinburgh he was against the Cambo development before joking he might get his “backside kicked” for saying so.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously insisted the Cambo field was a matter for the UK Government, only to then write to the Prime Minister suggesting a summit and urging him to “reassess” existing oil and gas licences following a growing Cambo oil field backlash.

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Ms Sturgeon’s letter sparked an angry backlash from a host of environmental groups, who accused her of not going far enough.

The North Sea oil industry could expand into the Cambo field off the west coast of Shetland. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mr McLennan said: “I'm not part of the Scottish Government. I'm a member of the SNP and obviously an MSP there. I wouldn't support it. Full stop. It's not needed.

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“The Fraser of Allander report actually mentioned the opportunities for Scotland in developing renewable energy. It's there. We don't need it. We do not need it going ahead.

“Now, I might get my backside kicked for saying that, who knows, but I think the key thing is for me we've already got the solution.

SNP East Lothian MSP Paul McLennan

“We don't need [a] new oil field.”

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McLennan’s comments at the July 30 event can be heard as part of a Greenpeace recording and come after SNP MP Tommy Sheppard also stressed his opposition in the Edinburgh Evening News to Cambo.

Scotland Minister David Duguid has meanwhile defended the proposed Cambo oil field and insisted energy sources like it are “still required”.

The Tory MP’s comments come ahead of a meeting on Tuesday with Siccar Point Energy in Aberdeen to discuss the proposed oil field off the west coast of Shetland.

An exploration licence for the field was granted in 2001 and the Oil and Gas Authority is now considering whether to approve extraction of more than 800 million barrels of oil from the site.

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Mr Duguid said: "As we transition to cleaner, low-carbon and renewable energy, demand for oil and gas is declining and will continue to do so, even with new fields such as Cambo.

"But until that transition is made … sources like Cambo are still required.”

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