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Tory minister ducks questions on the future of a controversial oilfield

A TORY government minister ducked questioning by a Holyrood committee today, avoiding a commitment on the future of a controversial oilfield off northern Scotland. 

Cabinet Office Minister Alok Sharma, who will serve as president of the Cop26 climate summit, appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s net zero, energy and transport committee to clarify plans for the United Nations conference later this year. 

Speaking alongside senior civil servants, Mr Sharma said that devolved governments would play a part in Cop26 and that the British government’s strategy to reach net zero would be published before November. 

He also said that efforts would be made to ensure that the commitment to set up a $100 billion (£72.4bn) climate finance fund to support developing nations was met. 

Mr Sharma avoided a question from Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon, who asked whether older licences, including for the Cambo oilfield, would be reassessed. The minister merely told MSPs that it was an issue for the the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

Ms Lennon said that refusal of a drilling licence for the site, near Shetland, would send a strong signal in the run-up to the conference. 

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