Suggestions from Scottish Tory MPs, that Scotland’s fishermen should move on and focus on 2020 following the Brexit transition agreement between the UK and the EU, have been described as “unforgiveable” by a leading Highland MSP.
Kate Forbes MSP, whose Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency means she represents fishermen on both the west and east coasts of Scotland, told the Scottish Parliament that the Tories had betrayed Scotland’s fishermen after previously pledging to safeguard their interests in Brexit negotiations.
Ms Forbes made the comments as she raised an urgent question in the Holyrood chamber, and her sentiments were echoed by the response from Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.
Speaking afterwards, Kate Forbes MSP said: “I represent fishing communities on the west and the east coasts of my constituency so I am well aware of the hopes fishermen have for Brexit negotiations and their deep disappointment with the transition agreement.
“The promises made by the Tories during the Westminster election, and the subsequent faith placed in them, now ring hollow.
“It was only last week that the leader of the Scottish Tories and Environment Secretary promised to safeguard fishing interests, but now plead disappointment over the result.
“Now the suggestion from Scottish Tory MPs and others is that the deal is done and we should move on and focus on 2020.
“I have to say I find the idea that we just shrug our shoulders and move on unforgiveable – fishing representatives like Simon Collins have said that ‘this has destroyed our trust in our own government, and it will take a monumental effort on their part to restore this’. I entirely agree.”
The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch continued: “The politics is irrelevant because ultimately this is about the fishing industry which has been run down as part of the CFP without any meaningful representation by the UK Government at the EU negotiating table for years.
“This demonstrates the challenge of being represented by a UK Government that either does not recognise or does not care about the importance of the fishing industry and the communities it supports.
“That is why I have raised this urgent question in the Scottish Parliament.”