Scottish National Party embraces offshore drilling for election boost

By Nicholas Earl | 06/07/2024 06:26 AM EDT

Less than a month out from the U.K. election, the party is taking a new approach to an industry that affects hundreds of thousands of Scottish jobs.

LONDON — The Scottish National Party is scrambling to stop a Labour comeback in Scotland. It hopes love-bombing oil and gas workers might just save its skin.

With a general election looming on July 4 and Labour surging in the polls, the SNP’s leaders are betting that a sudden change of heart on drilling in the North Sea — an industry affecting hundreds of thousands of jobs in Scotland — could shore up its support.

It’s a clear about-face for a party that in January 2023 committed to a built-in bias against granting new licenses for oil and gas drilling in domestic waters, in order to slash carbon emissions. That commitment was in the SNP’s draft energy strategy — which came as part of its now-collapsed coalition with the Scottish Green Party.


Less than a month out from a Westminster election in which the SNP looks set to shed seats to Labour on current polling, the mood has suddenly changed.