Michael Gove has issued a scathing attack on the Scottish Greens, branding the party “anti-oil and gas, anti-jobs and anti-Aberdeen”.
The Cabinet Office minister urged the SNP not to form a coalition with the party, warning that they could suffocate growth and investment in the north-east.
Nicola Sturgeon announced formal talks for a “cooperation agreement” between her government and the Scottish Greens last month.
The first minister even left open the prospect of ministerial jobs for the party’s MSPs, but talks have so far stalled amidst internal party wrangling.
Mr Gove, while on a ministerial visit to Aberdeen today, urged Ms Sturgeon to end the discussions.
He said: “The greens are anti-oil and gas, anti-growth, anti-jobs, anti-investment, anti-the north east and anti-Aberdeen.
“I hope that the SNP keep them at arm’s length, because I do not believe that a formal SNP/Green compact would be good for the north east or good for jobs.”
Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman, who represents the north east, dismissed the comments.
She said: “The Scottish Greens have shown how we can tackle the climate emergency by delivering a fair transition that supports oil and gas workers to move into the clean industries of the future and leaves no one behind.
“I was elected by the people of the north east to deliver that transition just last month and if I have to put Michael Gove’s nose out of joint to do so then so be it.”
The Scottish Greens’ Holyrood manifesto called for an end to new licences for oil and gas exploration, an end to tax breaks for the North Sea industry, and an end to public funding for new road building projects.
It also called for an annual 1% “millionaire’s tax” on wealth and assets above £1m, including land, property, pensions and other assets.