Sold Scotland down the river! QT audience member locks horns with MP over carbon capture

Question Time audience member clashes with Andrew Bowie

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The Tory MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Andrew Bowie, 34, was caught up in a carbon capture confrontation with an audience member in last night’s episode of the BBC’s flagship Question Time programme. Mr Bowie, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 2017, was joined in Glasgow by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, 38, the SNP’s Finance Minister Kate Forbes, 31, actor-turned-pro-independence campaigner Brian Cox, 75, executive dean of Edinburgh Business School Heather McGregor, 59 and BBC anchor Fiona Bruce, 57.

While Mr Bowie had confronted Ms Forbes about what could be done over carbon capture, a Glaswegian audience member said he thought the Conservative MP had “sold Scotland down the river”.

The comments came after the so-called Acorn Project at St Fergus in Aberdeenshire missed out on being backed by the British Government to develop its first carbon capture and storage facility.

It is now believed the site could be developed during the second phase of the project in 2030.

Instead, the first developments will be on the Humber and around Merseyside.

“Andrew just mentioned there that they’re investing billions and billions in the North East [of Scotland]”, he said.

“This is just to cover up what he actually sold away.

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“He allowed the UK Government to take that money out of Scotland and invest into the North of England.”

The audience member added: “He sold Scotland down the river by not allowing the North East project to go ahead.”

Mr Bowie responded to the comment by saying he was “disappointed” by the move but stressed it was “still in the pipeline”.

The Scottish audience member seemed frustrated that the North East had been snubbed in favour of what he said was “levelling-up”.

“Boris told you that it’s not going to happen in Scotland and you like a wee schoolboy said ‘Okay Boris, if that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get, never mind Scotland, you do what you want with your levelling-up’.”

Just moments before the audience member confronted the Conservative MP over carbon capture, a woman said the decision to prioritise the north of England was just “one more reason” to support independence.

“The infrastructure was already in place in Scotland and it just had to be reversed,” she said.

“One again, I believe Scotland to have been overlooked by Westminster and their decision-making.

“And it’s one more reason why I would vote for independence.”

Just days before the show aired at 10:35pm on Thursday, the UK Energy Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said: “We remain committed to helping all industrial clusters to decarbonise as we work to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

However, like Mr Bowie, Scottish Tories in Holyrood expressed their disappointment at the announcement.

Liam Kerr, the Conservative MSP in North East Scotland, said: “It’s obviously disappointing the Scottish Cluster is not in a higher position during the first stage.”

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The SNP’s Westminster Energy spokesman and MP for Aberdeen South Stephen Flynn said: “The North East of Scotland was the obvious location for a carbon capture project given that we are the home of the offshore industry, yet we’ve been ignored in favour of locations in England – an utterly devastating blow.”

The news also came just ahead of the United Nations’ COP26 summit in Glasgow.

The climate change summit will be held in Scotland’s largest city from October 31 to November 12.

Next week’s episode of Question Time will see Ms Bruce make the long journey down the M6 from Glasgow to Stockport.

During last night’s episode, she revealed she would be joined in Greater Manchester by ex-Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Jenny Campbell and NatWest chairman Sir Howard Davies.

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