TRACK RECORD OF BROKEN PROMISES & DISTRUST FOLLOWS MR GOVE, SAYS ISLANDS MSP
The planned power grab on Holyrood could leave Scottish fishing exposed and at the mercy of Westminster for years unless the Tories provide concrete details of their plans, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has said.
While the Scottish Parliament has withheld its consent for the UK government’s EU withdrawal bill, the legislation allows Westminster to legislate over the heads of MSPs over fisheries – despite these powers being expressly devolved under the Scotland Act.
This risks Westminster being able to further barter away any of Scotland’s fishing interests over a seven-year period as the Tories scrabble to cut post-Brexit trade deals.
The SNP has warned that Michael Gove cannot be trusted to represent Scotland’s fishing interests, having stated just a year ago that “powers over agriculture and fisheries that are currently held by the EU will be devolved to Holyrood” – a promise they are now desperately seeking to backtrack on.
Farmers have already seen that Mr Gove's word cannot be trusted, with outrage at the Royal Highland Show in recent weeks when he failed to give assurances that the long-promised review into the allocation of £160m of convergence funding would go ahead.
Furthermore, the fact that it was a Tory government that took Scotland into the Common Fisheries Policy, despite being told by advisers it meant Scottish fishermen would be “expendable”, will live long in the memories of Scotland’s fishing communities.
Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:
“The Tories think they can do what they want to Scotland’s fishing sector and get away with it.
“They made a firm commitment just last year that fishing powers would return to Holyrood after Brexit – a promise they’ve now reneged on.
“That’s because Michael Gove and the Tories will never put the interests of Scottish fishing first.
“They want to retain the right to sell our fishermen down the river, bartering off rights and quota to cut deals with Europe on trade.
“Despite Michael Gove’s ‘great reveal’ yesterday, he still couldn’t put a figure on how much the Scottish fleet will be able to catch after Brexit. What we got were weasel words.
"That should set alarm bells ringing in the industry – that the Tories still consider Scotland’s fishermen ‘expendable’ as they were in the negotiations when we first went into the EU; and that they remain so on our way out.”