DOUGLAS Ross has been heavily criticised for “betraying” the Scottish fishing industry after he took part in a leaders’ phone-in earlier today.
Ross was asked what he would do about the impact Brexit had taken on Scottish fishers.
The Moray MP admitted that the extra “red tape and bureaucracy” which had been forced on Scottish fishers post-Brexit was the “root of the problems” facing the industry, but suggested rejoining the EU was a bad idea due to “all the regulation and red tape from within the EU”.
The Scottish Tory leader said: “We’ve got to make sure that all the problems there is with red tape and bureaucracy are minimised and reduced as much as possible.
“You’re saying the alternative for you is to vote for the SNP, and you will have to look at all the other parties, but of course the SNP’s proposal is to take us back into the EU which I think is what fishermen have voted to come out of.
“They may be disappointed with the current scenario but over the next five years we will gain complete control over what we can fish, where and when, and who can fish in our waters. With the SNP they’d hand that straight back to the EU.”
The caller told Ross: “You know that’s incorrect … We’re over a barrel with Europe over fishing so that is incorrect what you’re saying.”
Ross denied his statement was incorrect, repeating that in five years the UK would have “full control over who fishes what, where, and when”.
He went on: “I would have loved that to have happened far quicker, I think a lot of the fishing industry hoped that would be the case, but that is our direction of travel and that’s where we can be in just a few years time.”
Karen Adam, the SNP candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast, said the Tories had broken promises and betrayed people reliant on fishing for their livelihoods.
Adam said: “Douglas Ross and the Tories have broken their Brexit promises and betrayed Scotland’s fishing communities – forcing the vital sector to pay a heavy price, with many being pushed to the brink.
“Throughout the entire Brexit process, the Tories have only ever managed to identify a single supposed benefit to Scotland of leaving the EU – the promise to take back full control of fisheries, which has been exposed as yet another shameless Tory lie.
“And despite previously setting out key tests and red lines on fishing, Ross quickly backtracked and fell into line behind Boris Johnson. It is little surprise that voters are turning their backs on Douglas Ross and the Tories over their failure.
“Scotland faces a choice of two futures – the long-term economic damage of a Tory Brexit and cuts imposed upon us against our will, or the opportunity to secure our place in Europe, protect our industries, and build a fairer society as an independent country in a post-pandemic referendum.”