SNP challenged on fishing as all 59 Conservative candidates sign Brexit pledge

6 Jun 2017

The SNP has been challenged to address its “chaotic” stance on fishing and sign the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) Brexit pledge to leave the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

On the eve of polling day, the Scottish Conservatives have confirmed that every one of the party’s 59 general election candidates have now signed the pledge.

The Conservative manifesto made a clear commitment to the fishing industry to come out of the EU, the CFP and the London Fisheries Convention.

The SNP manifesto, meanwhile, said that an independent Scotland would remain in the EU and claimed that the disastrous CFP could be “reformed”.

Only two SNP MPs – Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan) and Mike Weir (Angus) – have signed the SFF pledge so far. However, both politicians voted against the triggering of Article 50 to leave the EU.

Other senior SNP figures, including Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, have refused to sign.

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan, said:

“The SNP’s chaotic and confused position on the EU and fishing has been exposed in this election.

“They are trying to face both ways – telling fishermen in our coastal communities that they are behind them, while pursuing plans to drag them back into the EU and the CFP at the same time.

“In contrast, the Scottish Conservatives have been absolutely clear – we are coming out of the EU and the CFP and we are ready to seize the huge opportunity afforded by Brexit.

“Every single Scottish Conservative candidate in this election has now signed the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Brexit pledge.

“Our fishing industry should expect nothing less after the democratic UK-wide vote to leave the EU.

“SNP candidates – and indeed the First Minister – must now say if they will also back our fishing industry.

“Fishermen know that, after four decades, the CFP cannot be reformed from within. The European Fisheries Commissioner has also been clear that Scotland cannot be a full member of the EU and opt out of the CFP.

“The choice in this election for people in coastal communities is clear.

“A vote for the Conservatives is a vote for a future free from the shackles of the CFP, while a vote for the SNP will drag our fishermen back into the EU and the disastrous CFP.”

The SNP has a long=standing policy for an independent Scotland to be a member of the EU: https://www.snp.org/pb_what_is_the_snp_s_position_on_the_eu

It has been confirmed by the EU fisheries commissioner that any new member of the EU would be tied to the Common Fisheries Policy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/10/ruth-davidson-nicola-sturgeon-treating-fishermen-utter-contempt/

SNP MPs Eilidh Whiteford and Mike Weir signed the Brexit fishing pledge from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation: https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/politics/scottish-politics/413072/snp-mps-sign-fishing-pledge-that-would-keep-scotland-out-of-the-eu/