A POTENTIAL Scottish Government minister has praised protestors who occupied a UK Government building in Edinburgh over climate change.

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, whose party is holding joint government talks with Nicola Sturgeon, also addressed a related demo outside the building against a proposed new oil field off Shetland. 

"You all keep protesting," she told the crowd.

A dozen activists entered the UK Government hub at Queen Elizabeth House close to Waverley Station around 7.30am and blocked the main entrance by sitting and lying down.

The Stop Cambo Scotland group wants Boris Johnson to halt the “expected approval” of the oil field just months before Glasgow hosts the UN COP26 climate conference.

Ms Slater, a list MSP for the Lothians, later joined a related protest outside the entrance.

She raised burning waters in the Mexican peninsula, the heat waves that have enveloped North America, and the flash floods in Edinburgh as “symptomatic of a system that puts fossil fuel extraction and the maximisation of short-term profit above all else”.

Praising the direct action, she told demonstrators: “For the UK Tory government to issue new licences for additional for exploration and production of oil and gas in the North Sea shows how reckless and irresponsible Westminster is when it comes to environmental policy. 

“They have no respect for their legal obligations to a treaty that they signed with the international community. 

“No respect for international law. No respect for future generations. Three quarters of people in the UK support ending oil & gas extraction. The people get it. 

“But the government still don’t. The stakes could not be higher. The climate emergency is the defining challenge of our age.“

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Ms Slater challenged governments across the world to step up at the COP26 summit in Glasgow this year.

She said: “We are at a historic crossroads and I challenge governments all over the world to take up the responsibility. History books will be written about this era and the things that governments and corporations did or didn’t do. They won’t look favourably on politicians giving permission for even more drilling.”

Although Ms Sturgeon does not their support to govern, opened talks on a “potentially groundbreaking” deal with Holyrood’s other pro-independence party that could lead to Greens minister. 

The Tories claim it would be a “coalition of chaos”.

Police Scotland said the protest was peaceful

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “Following an incident this morning at Queen Elizabeth House in Edinburgh we are working with the police to ensure everyone’s safety.

“Currently the vast majority of UK Government civil servants continue to work from home, as they have done throughout the pandemic. 

“This means our services are unaffected by today’s activity.”