Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

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The First Minister:

I took part in a COBRA meeting yesterday at which those issues were discussed. I was concerned yesterday, and remain concerned today, that the timescale for the agreement of a protocol with France and, perhaps more especially, implementation of that agreement might be longer than our seafood sector has, to be frank.

We will continue to press the UK Government to take all necessary steps, but more important is that we will ensure that we are offering help and support. There might, since we have been in the chamber, have been developments that I am not aware of. If the solution involves mass testing of drivers—as it almost certainly will—we do not know whether it will be polymerase chain reaction testing or lateral flow testing. Once we know that, we can consider what arrangements we can put in place to test drivers in Scotland before they start their journeys. We will do everything that we can to help, and we will continue to liaise with the seafood sector. It is in everybody’s interests that the issue be resolved as quickly as possible.