KEIR Starmer has confirmed that a Labour government at Westminster would honour the Tories’ decision to approve the Rosebank oil field.

The UK Government gave the North Sea field the green light on Wednesday, claiming it would help Britain to fulfill its energy needs with domestic production.

But campaigners have said there are grounds to think the decision is unlawful, and vowed to take the Tories to court.

And Equinor, the principal investor in the Rosebank field alongside Ithaca Energy, has failed to say that the oil produced will be used in the UK. Instead, its website says it will help strengthen “Europe’s energy security”.

READ MORE: 'Ecocide': UK Government condemned for 'climate denial' after Rosebank approval

Amid the backlash, UK Labour leader Starmer confirmed that he would honour any North Sea oil and gas licences granted by the Conservatives – who have pledged to give out more than 100.

Starmer told the BBC: "I absolutely think we've got to do the transition to renewables and that's why the second of the missions that I set out is for clean power by 2030 – which is really difficult.

“The reason for that is cheaper bills and security – so [Vladimir] Putin can't put his boot on our throat.”

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow energy secretary, attacked the Rosebank oil field earlier in 2023 as a “colossal waste of taxpayer money and climate vandalism”.

Miliband (below) highlighted how £3.75 billion “of taxpayer subsidy which could have been invested in renewables” was to be handed to the project, adding: “Eighty per cent of oil exported, not a penny off bills, equivalent to half all UK emissions for a year.”

The National: Shadow net zero secretary Ed Miliband (Jane Barlow/PA)

Asked if Miliband’s criticism had been wrong, Starmer said the “chopping and changing, the lack of strategic thinking” had prevented growth.

He went on: "Therefore as a matter of principle we will accept the baseline that we inherit from the government if we win that election … in order to ensure we have the stability that we desperately need in our economy."

Labour MPs on the left of the party, such as Beth Winter and Richard Burgon, condemned the decision. Winter wrote: "We must cancel Rosebank. And we need a clean energy movement that makes that happen."

Scottish Labour MSPs Monica Lennon and Richard Leonard have spoken out against the development, but there has as yet been no word from the group’s leadership.

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Leonard said the Rosebank approval was “nothing short of criminal”, while Lennon said it showed “the UK Government is intent on committing ecocide”.

She added: “Approving Rosebank is catastrophic for the climate and nature. There will be no just transition for workers. We can’t let them away with this.”

Rosebank is one of the largest untapped oil fields in UK waters. Itcould produce 69,000 barrels (9000 tonnes) of oil per day, about 8% of the UK’s projected daily output between 2026 and 2030, and could also produce 44 million cubic feet of gas every day, according to its owners.

Ithaca Energy and Equinor said that the field is expected to start producing in 2026-2027, with the project supporting around 1600 at its peak during construction, and long-term will supply around 450 jobs.

Scottish Labour have been asked for comment.