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MSP urges PM visit after coal comments

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By Euan Maxwell
MSP urges PM visit after coal comments

A LOCAL MSP has challenged the Prime Minister to visit the region’s former mining communities following his comments that coalpit closures gave the country a “big early start” in the transition to renewable energy.

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth called the statement made by Boris Johnson “crass”.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Scotland last week, Mr Johnson paid thanks to ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for closing-down “so many coal mines” across the country.

Mr Smyth responded saying that the axing of mines in local communties such as Kirkconnel and Sanquhar in the 1980s “left a level of devastation that even today they have still not fully recovered from”.

The MSP, who is his party’s economic development spokesperson, added: “You just have to speak to any former miner in those proud communities to appreciate how utterly divisive and destructive that period was for the local towns and villages affected and understand the considerable hardship and misery that was caused.

“The axing of mines by Thatcher had nothing to do with the environmentalism and everything to do with trying to crush the trade unions ”

“I hope the Prime Minister will apologise for yet another bungling performance and his crass comments. I’d challenge Boris Johnston to visit the coalfield communities, speak to local people and listen to their calls to start to repair some of the damage caused all those years ago, with proper investment from the Government.”