Barney Crockett resigns from Aberdeen Labour
Former council leader and Lord Provost departs over North Sea energy row
By Josh Pizzuto-Pomaco
Photo Credit: Aberdeen City Council/Pixabay
Longtime councillor Barney Crockett has resigned from Aberdeen Labour over the party's new North Sea energy policy, he revealed in a shock interview with the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce this morning.
Resignation caps off a chaotic six months for the former Lord Provost.
Mr Crockett had been elected as Labour group leader in December, only to step down in early June.
Now, three weeks later, he has left Labour all together.
Mr Crockett told AGCC that the departure had nothing to do with his local colleagues.
He instead pointed the blame at Labour's new energy policy, which would see the party stop exploring licences for North Sea oil and gas.
Decision not 'taken lightly.'
Mr Crockett contended that Labour bosses failed to include local politicians in discussion of the proposal.
He said: '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.'
'I felt I could not in all conscience say what I believe about the wider situation whilst remaining in the group.'
New group leader Tauqeer Malik was photographed at the announcement of the plans in Edinburgh on Monday, although it is unclear if he had previously been consulted.
Aberdeen Labour leader weighs in:
Cllr Tauqeer Malik, recently appointed Aberdeen Labour group leader, will face a tall task in weeks ahead.
He told us:
'I am obviously disappointed that Councillor Crockett has decided to leave the Labour Party. The Labour Party is bigger than one individual and it will survive without Councillor Crockett. Aberdeen, Scotland, and the U.K. requires a U.K. Labour government and my focus will be to work with Keir Starmer, Rachael Reeves, and Anas Sarwar to deliver infrastructure investment for the northeast to ensure U.K. can move towards transition.
Crockett is no stranger to tension with the national party.
He, along with 8 other councillors, were suspended from Scottish Labour in 2017 after entering into coalition with the Conservatives on city council.
The group was reinstated ahead of the 2022 council elections, where Mr Crockett was reelected to his fourth term in office.
Speaking to The Gaudie on Wednesday evening, Mr Crockett said that he had been 'unhappy' in recent months with various Labour policies.
However, he stated that his departure was 'galvinised' by Keir Starmer's failure to highlight Aberdeen and its oil and gas sector as part of Labour's energy plans.
Mr Crockett added that his departure would allow him to strengthen his advocacy for Aberdeen, which he said is 'uniquely unheard in the places of power.'
The longtime council stalwart confirmed that he would continue to sit in opposition to the SNP-Liberal Democrat administration.