Trade Negotiations (Fishing Rights)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Annie Wells Annie Wells Conservative

2. To ask the Scottish Government whether it supports the position of the United Kingdom or the European Union on fishing rights in relation to the trade negotiations between the two Administrations. (S5O-04245)

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

My priority for the negotiations is, as it has always been, to defend the interests of the Scottish fishing industry and the wider seafood supply chain.

Photo of Annie Wells Annie Wells Conservative

The choice for the Scottish National Party Government is pretty simple: either it wants the UK to take back control of our waters and for us to become an independent coastal state, or it wants to drag us back to the hated common fisheries policy. Instead of the usual waffle, could we not just get an answer? Will the SNP Government back the UK Government and support Scottish fishing, or would it rather send our catch back to Brussels?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

It is disappointing that such a partisan approach should be taken on the issue. In recent weeks, I have noticed that many who might previously have supported Brexit are now expressing serious questions about the emerging problems that are becoming manifest.

First, contrary to what Michael Gove told me, there will be environmental health certificates. It is estimated that those will cost up to £15 million, although that estimate was provided some time ago and might now have been superseded by the first Boris Brexit bill.

Secondly, we will undoubtedly see people from other countries in Europe, who are so important to the fishing communities around Scotland, being sent the message that they are not welcome to stay here—a poisonous, unpleasant and insidious message that the Scottish Government totally and utterly rejects.

Thirdly, we do not know whether there will be any deal on fisheries—we are completely in the dark on that.

Fourthly, we do not know whether the desire to get a trade deal will take precedence over the formerly expressed interest in the livelihoods of fishermen.

The Tories really should go back and look at the facts about what are now emerging as the consequences of their Brexit policy—which very few of them used to support, incidentally.