War of words over fracking law

Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MP Gregg McClymont
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MP Gregg McClymont

Fracking has now become a key local General Election battleground for Labour MP Gregg McClymont and newly appointed SNP man Stuart McDonald.

The town’s proximity to the oil nexus at Falkirk-Grangemouth has already sparked action calls at town meetings.

But this week the rival politicians ramped up the volume by attacking each other’s parties over their handling of the issue.

Mr McClymont (pictured)has flagged up the 11 Labour Party amendments he backed during a Commons debate on the Infrastructure Bill.

He says these amendments would have implemented the recommendation of the Smith Commission - on which he was one of Labour’s two representatives – by devolving shale gas mineral access rights to Scotland.

He said: “It has always been the case that shale gas extraction can only happen in Scotland with the approval of the SNP in Holyrood.

“The Scottish Government’s longstanding control of the planning and permitting regimes gives them a veto over any development in Scotland.

“But the SNP voted against a shale gas moratorium in Holyrood earlier this year.”

He accuses the SNP of “maintaining the false pretence” that they are powerless to prevent fracking.

However SNP parliamentary candidate for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Stuart McDonald says Mr McClymont should tell constituents whether he supports plans to let companies frack under homes without permission of the home-owners.

He said: “ A particular area of controversy is the Tory/Liberal proposal to do away with any requirement for companies to seek permission from landowners before fracking underneath that land.

“And yet now we find a Labour spokesman at Westminster (shadow transport minister Richard Burden) stating that his party doesn’t oppose that controversial change.

“Mr McClymont should explain whether or not he too supports the Tory/Liberal proposals.

“If he’s siding with the Tories, then I’m sure many of his constituents will want to know – as they will be able to cast their vote at the next general election for an SNP candidate that is absolutely opposed to these changes.”