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by Chris Marshall
17 February 2024
Anas Sarwar: It was ‘ill-judged’ for first minister to share ‘Traitors’ front page

Anas Sarwar: It was ‘ill-judged’ for first minister to share ‘Traitors’ front page

Anas Sarwar has accused Humza Yousaf of “childishness” after the first minister shared a newspaper front page accusing Labour politicians of being “traitors”.

The Press and Journal newspaper ran a front page last week with the headline The Traitors, a reference to the popular BBC One show, which accused Labour of selling out those working in North Sea oil and gas.

The eye-catching front page, which featured Sarwar alongside Labour leader Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves, was widely shared on social media, including by Humza Yousaf.

Asked about the front page at Scottish Labour’s conference in Glasgow, Sarwar said he could see its “comedic” aspect but said he had declined requests to do draw parallels with the show when SNP politicians had appeared at the UK Covid inquiry last month.

He said: “Colleagues of (Labour MPs) Ian Murray and Michael Shanks in the parliament have been murdered. We should step back from using that kind of language. The first minister choose to share it – I thought that was ill-judged, to be honest. It shows a pettiness and a childishness in terms of the office of first minister.

“The wider point here is that the first minister has been very quick to criticise Labour around the Green Prosperity Plan. This is the SNP party that doesn’t know what it’s doing with the election, doesn’t know what it’s doing with renewables. The SNP opposed the windfall tax and then supported the windfall tax...and are now back to opposing it again.

“We're now in a ridiculous situation where the SNP are saying that if you earn £28,500, they believe you should pay more tax but if you’re an oil and gas company raking in billions of pounds of profits, you should now pay less tax. I think they’re out of touch with the reality for working people in this country.”

In an editorial published by the Press and Journal, Ryan Crighton, policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, wrote: “The back-stabbing stars of the hit television series have nothing on the Labour Party which, just months after heading north to promise ‘no cliff-edge end’ to the North Sea oil and gas sector, has delivered one of the biggest betrayals in Britain’s industrial history.”

He said the party’s plans for a windfall tax would wipe out 100,000 jobs and cost the Treasury £20bn in lost revenue.

Sharing the paper’s front page, Yousaf tweeted: “Scotland's energy sector is crucial to our nation's prosperity.

“Our oil & gas workers deserve better than Labour throwing them on the scrapheap & damaging Scotland's economy. The SNP will continue to invest in the workforce, they are crucial to our just transition to net zero.”

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