Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has promised there will be “no cliff edge” for oil and gas following concerns about Sir Keir Starmer’s plans for the sector.

Speaking to a group of business leaders as he announced a panel that will help develop the party’s economic policies north of the border, Mr Sarwar sought to reassure the north east as Labour hopes to win the keys to Downing Street in the election expected next year.

Sir Keir announced earlier this year that a Labour government at Westminster will not allow any more exploration licences in oil and gas, a policy that raised the ire of the industry.

Mr Sarwar said: “We know that Scotland has a huge reliance on the oil and gas sector, particularly in the north east.

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“We fully recognise that oil and gas will continue to play a significant role in our energy mix for decades to come.

“That is the simple, unavoidable reality.

“There will be no cliff edge, there will be no turning off the tap.

“We will not make the same mistakes the Tories made when they abandoned entire communities in the 1980s.

“I give that reassurance to businesses in the north east, and to the thousands of Scots who rely on jobs in the oil and gas sector.”

But Mr Sarwar said the “future of energy is changing”, and the UK must “act now, in partnership with business and workers” to see the benefit of renewables.

Read more: Sarwar's economic strategy to focus on green energy, finance and tech

The Scottish Labour leader was speaking at the Trades Hall in Glasgow as he announced the formation of a panel of business people to help create an economic growth plan ahead of the elections next year and at Holyrood in 2026.

The group counts among its members former media executive and star of the Apprentice Mike Soutar, who grills contestants in the latter stages of the BBC show, and Scottish Government adviser Sandy Begbie – who is also the chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise.

Asked how he would respond if the panel’s report calls for something a Starmer administration opposes and if he would fight for the policy, Mr Sarwar said: “Of course we will go to them and argue our corner.

Read more: Keir Starmer oil and gas ban plan blasted by sector and unions

“Of course we will go to them with what we think is right for Scotland.”

But he said there would not be a “fight” between parties north and south of the border.

“I wouldn’t use the language of ‘fight’, it’s about partnership and co-operation,” Mr Sarwar said.

“I think this has been the big challenge we’ve seen in devolution in the last 13 years.

“For the last 13 years people have believed that devolution means two governments arguing with each other, fighting with each other to division, chaos, ultimately not delivering for Scotland.”