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All Scottish MPs should back SFF ‘Sea of Opportunity’ pledge

28 Nov 2018

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The Scottish Fishermens’ Federation is calling on politicians from all parties in Scotland to sign a new pledge supporting the industry’s demand that full control of UK waters be taken back from the EU.

Speaking in Westminster today John Lamont MP urged other Scottish MPs to do the same. In response to questioning from Mr Lamont, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP said that MPs “who say they are standing up for the fishing industry, need to back it up.” All Scottish Conservative MPs have signed the ‘Sea of Opportunity’ pledge.

The three-part pledge calls on MPs to vote against any arrangement that would extend the UK’s membership of the CFP beyond December 2020, block anything that prevents the UK from negotiating as a full independent coastal state and uphold the UK’s right to complete control over its own waters.

The news comes as the Prime Minister has responded to a letter sent by the Scottish Conservative MPs about the issue. In that letter, the Prime Minister confirms that the UK “will decide who can fish in our waters and on what terms”. She also points out that if no agreement is reached with the EU over fisheries by 2020, the default position is that EU vessels would have absolutely no access to UK waters.

Commenting Scottish Conservative John Lamont MP said:

“I have been clear that in order for me to be able to support any Brexit deal, we must ensure that this includes leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and regaining control over our territorial waters. This is really important to me and the Scottish Conservatives because it is about supporting our local fishing communities.

“It is time for all Scottish MPs who claim to support the Scottish fishing industry to take action and commit to ensuring the UK leaves the CFP in December 2020 by signing the pledge.

“The impact of the CFP has contributed to the decimation of the fishing industry across coastal communities in Scotland. We now have a real opportunity to reverse this trend and to bring more fishing and more fish processing back to the Berwickshire coast in my constituency and others across Scotland.

“It is clear that both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland agree with me, which should reassure the industry.

“I don’t hold much hope for the SNP and their muddled and hypocritical position, let’s not forget the SNP would betray Scotland’s fishermen by locking them into the CFP by staying in the EU.”