Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called for cross-party working on the Fisheries Bill during a debate in the House of Commons. Mr Carmichael called for a consensus-based approach to benefit isles fishermen, highlighting that Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing had agreed just days before that the Bill respected devolution and gave Scottish officials the powers they needed.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:
“[Scottish Government Minister] Fergus Ewing told the Scottish Parliament Committee on 19 August: ‘“I’m confident this Bill gives Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament the necessary powers and tools to prepare for the end of the transition period in a way that respects devolution.”’
“Regardless of the terms of the deal, we will have to have a UK-wide framework Bill. Why, in view of what he says about the nature of this Bill and the co-operation of Scottish and UK Ministers, does the SNP therefore now want to decline to give it a Second Reading? Where is the sense of that for the fishermen in my constituency?”
“We have been able to establish a fairly good, broad, consensual approach to the issue in the House. That has always been appreciated by the industry and worked to its benefit. It defies reason as to why the SNP would want the House to decline a Second Reading when Mr Ewing says that the Bill does what is necessary and respects the devolution settlement.”
Speaking after the debate, Mr Carmichael said:
“Fishermen in the isles do not deserve to be caught up in the SNP’s political games. The nationalists risk undermining cooperation in one of the few areas on which we should be able to work together – all in the name of finding another pawn to play with.
“The current Bill may not be perfect but it represents valuable progress for fishing. I want to ensure that fishermen in the Northern Isles are ready to make the most of the changes to fisheries management in 2021 and I am ready to work with the government on this in a constructive way. The SNP needs to decide if they care more about supporting fishermen or picking needless fights.”