SNP MSPs Richard Lochhead and Stewart Stevenson have been urged to apologise to local fishermen after their party colleagues in Westminster voted against “vital” new legislation for the sector.
Nationalist MPs opposed the UK Fisheries Bill when it came to the House of Commons for its second reading this week.
The law is the first of its kind in 40 years – taking back control of UK waters and replacing the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Giving evidence at the Scottish Affairs Committee yesterday (Thursday), Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said a failure to pass the bill would have left fishermen “stuck” in the CFP and without a legal framework for managing Scottish waters and fish stocks.
Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative MP for Moray, said:
“Fishermen in Moray will rightly wonder why on earth SNP MPs voted against this vital piece of legislation.
“The UK Fisheries Bill gives power back to our coastal communities for the first time in 40 years.
“It signals an end to the EU Common Fisheries Policy, which has been nothing short of disastrous for Scottish fleets.
“By voting against this bill, SNP MPs have betrayed our fishermen.
“Richard Lochhead and Stewart Stevenson should apologise to fishing communities in Moray on behalf of their party colleagues in Westminster.
“I am pleased to say that those of us on the Conservative benches stood up for Scottish fishing and backed this bill.
“We will continue to support the sector because we know there is a huge opportunity to revive our coastal communities as we leave the EU.”