THE former leader of Aberdeen council has quit Labour over Keir Starmer’s hardline stance on North Sea oil.

Barney Crockett, who led the council between 2012 and 2014, revealed on Wednesday he had quit and described Starmer’s oil and gas exploration ban as “more brutal” than Margaret Thatcher’s assault on industry in the 1980s.

He told the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC): “I have been left stunned and bemused by the events of the last few weeks.

"The Labour leadership has made crucial decisions about the future of the UK, decisions focused on this area, without contacting anyone from this area or from the local Labour Party."

Labour has announced plans to ban new exploration licences for oil and gas fields in the North Sea – a part of the energy industry the AGCC supports around 90,000 Scottish jobs and 200,000 in the UK in general.

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Crockett added: “Margaret Thatcher never delivered a more brutal put down of an industry than that delivered by Keir Starmer in Edinburgh.

"Moreover, he avoided answering any direct question about Aberdeen. Rather, he deflected to Anas Sarwar who made no specific response about the city."Kirsty Blackman, the SNP MP for Aberdeen North, said: "It's no wonder Labour Party figures are quitting the party over Keir Starmer's damaging plans to carve up Scotland's energy sector, which shows why Scotland needs energy independence - not more Westminster control.

"For decades, Westminster has taken billions of pounds from Scotland's energy wealth and hoarded it at the UK Treasury instead of reinvesting it back into Scotland's communities.

"Now Keir Starmer is doing it all over again - and he is putting jobs and investment at risk across Scotland."

She added: "People in Aberdeen are keen to see an energy transition that works for our communities and our city.

"It’s clear from the UK Government’s unwillingness to match the Scottish Government’s Just Transition fund that Westminster has other ideas.

"We will work every day to ensure we reap the benefits of renewable technologies and we don’t see a repeat of the income being squandered elsewhere. We need the full powers of an independent country to achieve this.”

The AGCC reported in its Morning Bulletin blog that Starmer is facing backlash over his controversial green plans with Labour councillors in Aberdeen planning to lodge a motion at the party’s annual conference calling the policy “economically illiterate”.

Tauqeer Malik, who replaced Crockett as the leader of the Labour group in Aberdeen earlier this month, said: “We have jobs and families to protect. We cannot just throw the baby out with the bath water.”

He has called for a more “strategic and careful” approach to the industry, which is vital to the city’s economy.