Creating a Sustainable Future for Crofting

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 10th September 2019.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

I point out that we implemented our pledge to consult on proposals for crofting legislative reform, and that that consultation indicated the lack of a clear majority for the comprehensive reform that some people have advocated. In the absence of a clear majority for that approach, and given that we are a profoundly democratic party and Government, we felt that we should not foist that approach on the crofting communities. Rather, we sought, and are proceeding with, an alternative approach, which is to identify practical and everyday measures that can improve crofting law. Indeed, working with key stakeholders, we have made some progress towards that on a number of fronts.

It is my desire that we proceed with a crofting bill in this session of Parliament. I am proceeding on the basis that, provided that we can secure the parliamentary time to do so, we will endeavour to introduce such a bill.

Crofters are among the hidden casualties of Brexit—especially a no-deal Brexit, which commands so much of our time. We have had no choice but to hope for the best but to prepare for the worst. The Conservatives—and others—have been the first to demand that we spend our time considering the plight of crofters. Now that we have granted their request and are doing precisely that, they are complaining, moaning and whining again, because they cannot accept the consequences of their own desperate no-deal Brexit plans, which have led to the resignation of an increasing number of their members at Westminster. I observe that none of their members in Scotland seems to have the gumption to resign from anything.