DOUGLAS Ross was asked if he and the Prime Minister had “misled” the public on investment in an Aberdeenshire carbon capture scheme during a tense BBC interview this morning.

The project, which would see emissions drawn from the North Sea and the refinery in Grangemouth via pipelines and stored in the north east facility, was in line for investment - but missed out earlier this week.

The Scottish Conservative leader faced multiple questions from Good Morning Scotland’s Laura Maxwell on why he’d been so positive about the Acorn Project at St Fergus just 14 days before it was snubbed for funding in favour of two English projects.

The National:

The UK Government and Ross have been under pressure in recent days to justify the move to give cash to projects on the Humber and around Liverpool – and consider the Scottish site a “reserve”. Project Acorn is now unlikely to receive UK carbon capture funding before 2030.

Speaking earlier this week, SNP energy spokesperson Stephen Flynn suggested the decision was political, telling the BBC: “As far as I understand it the Acorn Project met all of the criteria and it was for UK Government ministers to determine where the final projects would be.

“I don’t think it necessarily comes as a surprise to anyone that when they’ve looked at where their votes lie in the north of England, as opposed to the north east of Scotland, they’ve decided to back projects in the north east of England for political reasons.”

This morning Maxwell asked Ross if that was the case. "Absolutely not,” he replied.

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"This is a process that all the projects had to go through, they were determined on their merits and as we've heard from the Prime Minister, from myself, from the Business Secretary earlier on this week it was a very strong bid, but there are other elements of the other bids that took them above the Scottish cluster."

The presenter pointed out that nobody had confirmed what those elements were, to which the Tory MP said that “information will come out”.

Maxwell also challenged Ross on his decision to suggest good news was coming to the Acorn Project during the Conservative conference earlier this month.

“We were very optimistic,” the Moray MP explained. “But I think as Kwasi Kwarteng said to your programme a couple of days ago, we didn’t know the final outcome.

“We knew it was a good bid. I was very hopeful. And I’m disappointed it’s not in the top two but it is in the reserve list which means we have to continue working with the Acorn Project and I’m sure with that effort we can get it over the line and ensure Scotland benefits significantly from this process.”

Ross would not say who in government had indicated Project Acorn would be getting the investment.