Ian Murray: 'Broken' relationship between Scotland and UK 'repaired'

Ian Murray, the new Scottish secretary, said the future of jobs at Grangemouth oil refinery was his 'number one priority'.

The “broken” relationship between Scotland and Westminster has been “repaired”, with the future of Grangemouth oil refinery the “number one” priority, the Scottish secretary has declared.

Ian Murray said the country was “thirsty for change” and that the relationship with the Scottish Government required a “reset”.

He told STV News that “all sides would have admitted that” previously the relationship between the Scottish and UK’s Governments was “broken”, but now “has been repaired”.

On the future of jobs at Grangemouth oil refinery, Murray said the issue had been “number one on the agenda since I walked through the doors of Dover House here on Friday evening”.

He continued: “My first meeting on Saturday morning was a briefing on Grangemouth and we’ve been working with the Scottish Government, with the company itself and with the trade unions since then.”

The refinery, which is the only one in Scotland, is due to close and be turned into a finished fuels import terminal as early as next year.

He added that he was “confident that there might be a way forward fairly shortly” and that “we have a plan for a brighter future” which “takes into account the fact that we want to transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy by 2030”.

“We want the future for Grangemouth to be an exciting prospect for jobs and the economy” but, he added, “of course there’s big challenges in the short term”.

Describing the early conversations with First Minister John Swinney, the secretary of state for Scotland said: “Keir Starmer gave a commitment during the election campaign that his first visit would be to Scotland and he fulfilled that on Sunday.”

“The Prime Minister and the First Minister had a very, very productive meeting on Sunday which I attended with the deputy first minister about resetting that relationship,” he added.

“But it’s also about doing politics differently, getting away from the politics of before, respecting parliament, respecting the devolved administrations.”

He admitted that it would “take time for cultures to change” but said “that’s the only way we’re going to be able to deliver what we want to deliver”.

When asked whether there would be further court battles or veto of Scottish Government legislation, similar to battles fought with the previous UK Government, the MP for Edinburgh South said: “The key thing in those kinds of areas is to talk early.

“We’re determined to make sure people are involved in decision making, that people can pick up the telephone and have conversations about things that might be difficult.”

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