NICOLA Sturgeon has rejected criticism from Alex Salmond about her objections to new oil fields in Scotland, saying her stance doesn’t throw those in the sector “on the scrap heap”.

The First Minister was grilled by the BBC’s Glenn Campbell, who asked her about the Cambo oil field and her record on climate change.

Salmond last week said that Sturgeon’s opposition to Cambo is a blow to the case for Scottish independence.

Comparing the position to Thatcher’s abandonment of coal mining communities in the 1980s, he went on to say that it will cost the SNP thousands of votes in the north east.

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The Alba Party leader wrote in the Sunday Mail: “For 50 years, the clarion call of ‘It’s Scotland’s oil’ has fired the engine of Scottish independence.

“Last week Nicola Sturgeon turned off the switch in a response to a parliamentary taunt from a Labour MSP.

“She came out against the development of the massive new Cambo oil field. The consequences could be far-reaching and not just for the SNP but for the whole independence movement.”

Sturgeon has urged the UK Government to not confirm the Cambo proposals until a climate assessment has taken place.

She said that an approach that puts the climate first does not have to mean throwing those in the oil and gas industry on the scrap heap.

Sturgeon said: “At the moment, Cambo effectively will get the green light without a climate assessment.

“I don't think that is right in the circumstances we are in. Therefore, what I've said to Boris Johnson, whose decision that says is subjected to a rigorous climate assessment.

The National:

“Now, I don't think having said that, you can completely prejudge that. But many people, and I've got a lot of sympathy with this, would say in the face of the climate emergency with the scientists saying what they're saying about fossil fuels, could it ever pass that rigorous climate assessment? So it shouldn't get the green light because we are in that situation.

“But there's also been a lot of misrepresentation of my position. Look, look, stop trying to misrepresent my position. We've got to accelerate away from fossil fuels.

“That is inescapable and anybody who tries to suggest otherwise is putting their head in the sand. Well, if it doesn't get the point, great, but that doesn't mean that we throw the people who currently work in the oil and gas industry on the scrap heap.”

Campbell interjected to say that Salmond considered Sturgeon’s position to be a “backwards step” for jobs and for SNP votes.

Responding, the First Minister said: “I think that is just an oversimplified analysis of the position, you can't magic away the climate emergency and anybody who tries to do that is not being fair to this or to future generations.”

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Campbell interrupted again to ask if Sturgeon is a recent convert to the climate emergency. “This is the same Nicola Sturgeon who went to Shetland in 2014 and predicted a second oil boom,” he said.

Sturgeon replied: “If you look at the science, what the science is telling us now, from 2014 to now, it is very different.”

Campbell cut in to ask: “Is this the same Nicola Sturgeon who in 2017, went to an oil conference, and reassured them that you would remain committed to maximum economic value being extracted from the North Sea?”

Sturgeon replied, “Yeah, it's the same Nicola Sturgeon who has learned as the science has developed, and who is saying, ‘well, the things that all of us thought were possible in 2014 or 2017, we can no longer hold to these things’.”