The Scottish National Party (SNP) has accused the Scottish Tories of allowing the sell-out fishing communities
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has accused the Scottish Conservative Party of allowing the sell-out of the nation’s fishing industry.
In a scathing attack on Scottish Tory MPs, including Douglas Ross and John Lamont, Scotland’s leading party said that despite signing a letter in 2018 saying they “could not support an agreement with the EU that would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares”, claiming that it would be a “betrayal of Scotland” if they voted for that.
In the jointly signed letter to Prime Minister Teresa May in November 2018, thirteen Scottish Conservative members wrote that the reiterate their position on fishing, welcoming the PM’s statements on the UK leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and negotiating as an independent coastal state from December 2020. The also held the PM to her promise that any thing less would be “a betrayal of Scotland” to which they agreed.
The Scottish MPs wrote, “In order to deliver on these expectations, we could not support an agreement with the EU that would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares. That would mean that we would not be leaving the CFP in practice and would be becoming an independent coastal state in name only. At the end of the Implementation Period, we must be able to negotiate access and quota shares with the EU and other third countries independently on an annual basis, without pre-existing arrangement being in force. This means that access and quota shares cannot be included in the Future Economic Partnership, allowing the UK to become an independent coastal state both in principal and in practice.
“We also cannot remain in the CFP after December 2020. As fishing quotas are decided on an annual basis, remaining in the CFP for even a few months into the new year would result in quotas being assigned for the entire year based on existing arrangements. Our coastal communities have already made the difficult compromise of accepting extending the CFP membership throughout the Implementation Period and have made it clear to us that they would not accept any further extension.”
Such was the strong feeling of the Scottish Conservative Party members on post-Brexit fisheries, that they took every opportunity to remind their Tory colleagues in Westminster of their stance on the issue that seriously affect their coastal communities.
Earlier in the year, Douglas Ross who is the current leader of the Scottish Conservative Party since 2020 said it would be easier to get someone to “drink a pint of cold sick” than to back a fishing deal that allowed two years of access to waters for EU vessels.
In that interview in March 2018 on the UK-EU trade talks: “Ross blamed the setback on the EU, as well as taking a swipe at the SNP, saying, “the EU does not care about Scottish fishermen and neither do the SNP government, which actually wants us to re-join the Common Fisheries Policy and the EU”.
He added: “But I have to say the UK Government has delivered far less than I hoped or expected.”
The SNP goes on to criticise John Lamont, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.
“John Lamont is another Scottish Tory who made promises to Scotland’s fishing community by pledging he would vote down any deal that did not deliver “total control of fish stocks and vessel access”.
“Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal doesn’t even come close to delivering that – but the remaining six Scottish Tory MPs are now set to emphatically back what they themselves called a “betrayal of Scotland”.
Also, under-fire is David Duguid, MP for Banff and Buchan since June 2017.
“David Duguid claimed access to waters was his “red line” and said it should not be tied to any Brexit deal,” writes the SNP. “Even though Boris Johnson’s trade deal gives EU vessels access to UK waters for several years, Duguid’s red line has mysteriously vanished – proving yet again that Scottish Tories will always roll over to their Westminster bosses.”