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7 March 2018

Tories Cannot Be Trusted Over Fishing

Following the publication of the EU’s draft guidelines for the forthcoming Brexit talks, and the Prime Minister’s readiness to discuss reciprocal access for European fishermen to UK waters, the SNP has warned that the Tories cannot be trusted to deliver for Scotland’s fishing communities.

Stewart Stevenson MSP, who represents both Europe’s biggest fishing port (Peterhead) and shellfish port (Fraserburgh) highlighted that the UK government is treating fishermen as “expendable” in negotiations with Brussels once again, with grand campaign promises made by senior Brexiteers failing to materialise.

Acknowledging concerns raised by the industry today, Mr Stevenson said that this latest stand-off in negotiations with Brussels adds to existing worries in the sector over free movement and access to European markets.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“The SNP has consistently stood up for Scotland’s fishing industry – calling for current Europe-wide agreements to be fundamentally reformed, or scrapped altogether. Better access for our fleets to the waters around Scotland is of vital importance, whether we’re leaving the EU or not.

“The Tories have let down the fishing communities I represent for decades, infamously describing fishermen as “expendable” in previous negotiations. They couldn’t be trusted then and cannot be trusted now.

“Shamefully Scotland’s fishing communities were promised the earth – and the sea – by the Brexiteers. Leaving the EU, we were told, meant two fingers up to Brussels and no limit to the opportunities for our fishermen.

“The reality, and we’ve seen more evidence of this today, is that the UK government is making such a mess of negotiations that any deal they negotiate is likely to come at a considerable cost to our fishing fleet.

“This comes on top of the risk to both the processing and catching sector posed by ending free movement of people, on which they rely heavily, and free access to the European market place for our world-class seafood.

“That’s why it’s absolutely vital that Scotland stays within the Single Market and that no powers over fisheries are subject to the planned power grab by Westminster – the Tories simply cannot be trusted.”
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