The political row over fishing and Brexit has escalated further, with the SNP calling on Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson to answer six questions on the future of fishing post-Brexit.
The Tory MSP visited Peterhead last week to meet with the fishing sector but the SNP say she failed yet again to give assurances her party won’t sell-out the industry in negotiations.
Now North East candidates have pointed to a series of statements which leave no doubt as to the party’s intentions after Brexit.
Both Banff and Buchan candidate Dr Eilidh Whiteford and Gordon candidate Alex Salmond have called on Ruth Davidson to answer six questions including how many foreign vessels will be allowed to fish in Scottish waters.
The six questions for Ruth Davidson on fishing are:
* Do you agree with David Mundell that “there is no way we would go back to Scotland or Britain controlling British waters” after Brexit?
*In negotiations on our exit from the EU how many vessels from other countries will the UK government allow to fish in Scottish waters after Brexit?
*Do you agree with the UK government’s white paper on Brexit that it is in the UK’s interests to reach a deal that works for the EU’s fishing communities.
*Do you agree with Theresa May that Spanish fishermen should not be left poorer due to Brexit?
*Will you apologise for the Tories saying that Scotland’s fishing industry “must be regarded as expendable”?
*What policy framework will replace the Common Fisheries Policy after Brexit?
Commenting, Dr Whiteford said:“The SNP is the only party that will always stand up for Scotland’s fishing industry - unlike the Tories, who infamously and shamefully described our fishing fleets as ‘expendable’.
“The Tories have already made it clear that fishing will not be a high priority in the negotiations, with senior figures from Theresa May down pledging a good deal for EU fishing fleets.
“This can only mean one thing. The Tories are preparing to use Scotland’s fishing industry as a Brexit bargaining chip – and any warm words for the industry are sheer hypocrisy.
“I have always been consistent in my view of the CFP whereas the Tories have admitted they are simply going to incorporate the CFP into UK law.
“The fishing industry is going to be a bargaining chip for the UK Government in negotiations with the Spanish and others.
“Private assurances will no longer work. The Tories must now answer these key questions, or they simply will be seen for the frank hypocrisy of their position. A vote for the SNP will send a warning to the Tories that they will not get away with selling out Scotland’s fishing communities for a second time.”
Mr Salmond, added: “The proudest part of my political career was my 23 years as a fishing MP, fighting tooth and nail for justice for our coastal communities.
“The reality is that without real political clout from Scotland the Tory Party who sold out Scottish fishing on the way into the European Union will sell us out again on the way out.
“In all my years in the House of Commons I never met a single Tory fishing Minister who put Scottish fishing first.
“In fact they changed so often they didn't even know where the North East of Scotland was. For the Tories fishing is expendable. For the SNP it is and always will be our top priority.”