Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has denied voters in the north-east have been snubbed after a potential carbon capture project was given the go ahead in England.
Mr Ross said voters behind the so-called “red wall” were not more important to the Conservatives than those in Scotland — particularly in the north-east, where half of the country’s Tory MPs represent.
The Moray MP said he did not feel “betrayed” by his own government, nor had Westminster let-down the country after Boris Johnson’s government was accused of delivering “yet another Tory broken promise” in its decision to reject a carbon capture project off Peterhead.
Instead of the Acorn project at St Fergus, UK energy minister Greg Hands, who visited the north-east last week, selected two schemes in the north of England to go forward in the first round of bids.
Asked on BBC Radio Scotland if red-wall votes were more important than Scottish ones to the UK Government Mr Ross said: “Absolutely not.
“This is a process all the projects had to go through, determined on their merits and as we have heard from the prime minister, from myself and from the Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, it was a very strong bid.
“But there are other elements of the other bids which took them above.”
When pressed on what those elements were, Mr Ross could not say as he “did not know”.
Mr Ross said he would take “no lectures” from the SNP, who he said had invited the Scottish Greens into government — a party he claimed did not believe in carbon capture.
He added: “This isn’t the outcome I wanted, this isn’t the decision I wanted, but I am determined to do everything possible to get it over the line at the next opportunity.”
List of let-downs for Scotland
The decision is the latest blow to Scotland’s hopes of developing the technology.
A previous BP-led carbon capture and storage scheme at Peterhead was abandoned in 2007, then a coal-based project at Longannet in Fife collapsed in 2011, followed by the withdrawal of funding earmarked for a Shell/SSE-backed initiative at Peterhead in 2015.