Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond calls Westminster MPs 'thieves' over North Sea oil and gas reserves

He added he was 'ready' for a debate with Prime Minister David Cameron

First Minister Alex Salmond has called Westminster MPs “thieves” and pledged to make North Sea oil and gas work better for Scottish communities if the country becomes independent

Mr Salmond addressed a gathering in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, with Prime Minister David Cameron and his Cabinet just a few miles away on their own visit to the north east.

The two Cabinets' close proximity was a “wasted opportunity” to stage a public debate between the First Minister and Prime Minister, Mr Salmond said.

He described the Westminster Government's visit, the first time a UK Cabinet has visited north east Scotland since David Lloyd George's team met in 1921, as a potential “portent” of his hopes for an independent Scotland.

“If at any point David Cameron walks in, I am available for this debate,” he said.

“I'm here, I'm ready, I'm willing. Let's take the opportunity to exploit this geographical coincidence in order to pursue the debate that so many people in Scotland want to see.

”This is the 12th Scottish Cabinet meeting in the North of Scotland, but this is only the second time in history that the UK Cabinet has met in the north of Scotland.

“The UK Cabinet has come to Aberdeen but they're not going to have any public discussion or access.

"It does seem a wasted opportunity, not just for the First Minister and the Prime Minister to debate, but to have people from this area question the UK Cabinet over its range of responsibilities."

Read more: Scottish independence: Warnings over pound ‘swaying undecided voters’ as poll shows strong lead for 'No' vote

Mr Salmond welcomed the report by Sir Ian Wood which recommended a new energy regulator to be based in the north east.

"I've got some form in oil and gas as I was an energy economist before I fell among thieves, by which I mean the House of Commons and not the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government," Mr Salmond, a former Westminster MP, said.

"We are told today that North Sea oil and gas is better handled by a big country like Britain as opposed to a small country like Scotland.

"That's a very interesting concept for people in this part of the country, who can glance across the North Sea to Norway, a country smaller than Scotland but a country which by every observation has handled its oil and gas resources better than the stewardship of Westminster.

“I don't mean better just for the companies earning profits and investment, that's important, and not even just for the workforce terms, conditions and safety, which is hugely important.

I mean handling the oil and gas resource for the community as a whole as Norway has accumulated much of its revenues for a futures fund for future generations.

Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron toured a BP installation 150 miles (240km) east of Aberdeen ahead of a Cabinet meeting in the city on Monday afternoon, and argued that Scotland alone would find it harder to invest and deal with oil market volatility.

PA

Read more: It is not bullying to show what Scottish independence means
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?