A major row over the fishing industry has broken out between the Tory government and the SNP MP’s in Westminster following a leaked document outlining the future relationship with the EU.
The document , or Political Declaration (See Below) which is now in the public domain, states that any agreement on fishing quotas and access to waters between the UK and EU should be taken into consideration in the negotiations over a trade agreement after Brexit, an opinion echoed by the EU’s Deputy Chief Negotiator, Sabine Weyand when she said,
“We need an EU-UK fisheries agreement that covers both access to waters and market access.”
Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute whose constituency has an aggregated coastline longer than France and understands the importance of the industry to the wellbeing of his constituency said,
“This is history repeating itself all over again. Forty years ago the fishing industry was sold down the river by the then Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath and his government used it as a bargaining chip in becoming a member of the EEC. We will take no lectures from the Scottish Tory MPs about the failings of the Common Fisheries Policy; their fingerprints are all over it. Heath regarded the industry as expendable, Thatcher signed up the doomed CFP and after years of mismanagement, John Major’s government signed up to a revised CFP which ripped the heart out of the industry and destroyed livelihoods in the process. And now as we are leaving they plan to do it all over again to Scotland. The Tories will never be forgiven for selling out the industry again.”
He went on to say,
“Debating the fisheries bill, I looked across at a lot of red faces in the benches opposite because, despite the Scottish Tories’ attempts to position themselves as the champion of the Scottish fishing industry, promising that we would leave the CFP after March 2019, they have been hung out to dry by their own Prime Minister”. David Mundell who promised to stand up for Scotland and resign if we didn’t leave the CFP, has lost the last remaining scraps of principle and credibility that he had.”
“ Only an independent Scottish Government can adequately look after the interests of our fishing industry; only an independent Scottish Government can recognise the significance of this industry’s contribution to our economy; and only an independent Scottish Government can be relied upon not to use our fishing industry as a bargaining chip.”
The stark truth is that the glib and hollow promises made in last year General Election by career-hungry candidates wearing blue rosettes are now unravelling, because they were all predicated on a UK Government acting in the best interests of the Scottish fishing industry. History has taught them nothing. I look forward to the day when an independent Scotland, as a member of the European Union, can help to shape a common fisheries policy that works for us and is of benefit to our neighbours as well”.
Draft Political Statement