The Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, was the subject of a complaint to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in November 2014 over his support for the Duke of Buccleuch's plans to exploit underground coal gas.

He was criticised by the SNP MSP for South Scotland, Joan McAlpine, after he had carpeted her for opposing Buccleuch's plans.

Her complaints were denied by Ewing, who announced a temporary moratorium on onshore gas developments a few days after his dispute with McAlpine was revealed by the Sunday Herald.

Ewing is regarded as one of the most right-wing members of the SNP government. His official register of interests shows that in March 2013 he owned £44,000 worth of shares in Blackrock World Mining, a major mining company, which he has since sold.

Richard Scott, the 10th Duke of Buccleuch, can trace his ancestry back to an illegitimate son of King Charles II more than 350 years ago. He inherited his titles when his father died in September 2007.

Scott now chairs the family business, which owns 260,000 acres of land, much of it in the south of Scotland, and runs a series of energy, food, property and tourism enterprises. His family has stately homes at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, Bowhill House, near Selkirk, and Boughton House in Northamptonshire.