SSA Chairperson, Ryan Scatterty, has accused Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon of underminding the UK’s Brexit bargining position
The Chairperson of the Scottish Seafood Association, Ryan Scatterty, has accused Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, of undermining the UK’s bargaining position in negotiations with the European Union by demanding that the British government relinquish its mandatory demand for an independent British fishery.
The SSA chief has accused Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP Government of actively working to “undermine” Britain’s position at the negotiating table with the European Union and weakening its chances of striking a free trade deal with the bloc.
In an interview with the Express he refers to remarks made by Scottish officials in talks between the Scottish Home Office and EU negotiators at a meeting separate from the talks between the British government and the EU. Representatives of the Scottish Government are said to have said “both sides need to give in” in fisheries talks.
In the interview Scatterty said he was “highly disappointed” to hear that Sturgeon and senior figures at Holyrood had gone behind the UK government’s back “to almost offer up the fishing rights” of Scots in return for a path for Scotland to re-join the bloc.
He said he had no doubt that ministers’ actions were “undermining” the UK’s trade talks with the EU, which this week continued in Brussels.
Scatterty continued “He said: “They have made it perfectly clear that the long-term aim of the current Scottish Government administration, the SNP party, is that they wish to re-join the European Union.
“Well, quite simply, to re-join the European Union means that we will be bargaining away our fishing rights so there wouldn’t be any upside.”
He also disagreed with Scotland’s Home Affairs Minister Fergus Ewing, who has said that the Brexit talks had reached a dead end over fisheries issues because there were no Scottish ministers involved.
Scatterty believes the Scottish Home Office’s concerns about Britain’s exit without an agreement with the EU are justified and genuine. However, their actions and statements are likely to damage Britain’s bargaining position.
The Scottish Home Rule Government has made no secret of its opposition to Britain’s exit from the European Union, but in the 2016 referendum, 62% of Scots voted against leaving, compared to 48% nationwide.
The SSA chief concluded by saying:
“The Scottish Government and the SNP ministers in particular have made no secret of their desire for Scotland, if we were to gain independence, to become part of the European Union again.
“By doing that they are simply going to bargain away the fishing rights or any potential benefit we would get from Brexit.
“Clearly, one of the benefits for the United Kingdom coming out of the European Union would be taking control over our fishing rights again.”