IT is fortunate that oil and gas is reserved to the UK Government so the Tories can approve further drilling in Scottish waters without the Scottish Government’s approval, Alister Jack has said.

The Scottish Secretary was addressing his party conference in Aberdeen on Saturday morning when he made the comments.

In a confused speech, Jack alternated between criticising the Edinburgh government for refusing to work with its London counterpart, and praising it for maintaining a strong working relationship.

He said it was hard to work with the Scottish Government as ministers in Edinburgh “demand a freshly brewed grievance every morning”.

“The people of Scotland rightly expect their two governments to work together,” Jack added.

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The Scottish Secretary also told attendees that the case for drilling in the North Sea had been strong before the invasion of Ukraine, but that Vladimir Putin’s aggression had now made it “unanswerable”.

He said that opposition at Holyrood to further drilling was the “price of Nicola Sturgeon going into power with the Greens”.

“It is astonishing that we have a Scottish Government that is opposed to developing our oil and gas resources,” he said.

However, Jack said that “fortunately” oil and gas is reserved to Westminster, so the Scottish Government will not be able to prevent the Tories giving the green light to further exploration in Scottish seas.

Jack also addressed the Union Connectivity Review, saying that there were key projects, such as the upgrading of the A1 and A75, for which people in Scotland would be thankful to have direct UK Government funding.

However, he also appeared to accept the criticism levelled at the review by SNP figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who labelled it a “power grab, taking decisions around priorities away from Scottish ministers, with a suggestion of funding improvements”.

Jack told conference: “What does Scotland need more, another SNP ‘power grab’ moan, or proper trunk roads?”

The Scottish Secretary also misspoke in one moment in his speech while addressing the crisis in Ukraine. Jack mistakenly claimed that the UK was “one of the biggest aid donors to Russia”, before swiftly correcting himself.

Commenting on the speech, SNP Scotland Office spokesperson Mhairi Black MP said: “It’s hard to tell if the Scottish Conservatives have gathered for their spring conference or a bad comedy show because some of the stuff coming out in these speeches are surely jokes. In fact, they’d be better off changing career and becoming comedians because they’ve been shockingly poor at standing up for Scotland.

“Alister Jack stood up today and spoke about ‘levelling up’ in the North East - the same area that was short-changed by his Westminster government by £245m in the city region deal.

"It's his government that has twice reneged on a promise to fund a carbon capture facility in the North East - that would have created thousands of jobs - and his government that refuses to match the Scottish Government’s £500m Just Transition Fund.

“He talks of working together yet at every turn his government has attempted to grab power from Holyrood and undermine positive policies in Scotland, such as the Scottish Child Payment. All of this while the Scottish Government continues to mitigate damaging Westminster policies to the tune of almost £600 million.”