The Prime Minister is “scared to face” Scottish fishermen, Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said today. Reacting to suggestions from Boris Johnson that fishermen were to blame for not being ready for trading changes and that a taskforce would be set up to support the industry, Mr Carmichael ridiculed the idea that the Prime Minister would set up a task force if all the future held was “great opportunities”.
Asked by reporters during his visit to Scotland whether he would meet with disgruntled fishermen, the Prime Minister said: “I’m always happy to meet representatives of any section of industry in this country” and again dismissed issues faced by the industry as “teething problems”. He added:
“We told people there was a big change coming and where people have had problems through no fault of their own, there is a £23 million fund to help them through it.
“As you’ve heard this morning, we’re setting up a taskforce to make sure we work with Scottish fishing industry to make sure they are in a position to take advantage of this increase in stocks.”
In reaction Mr Carmichael said:
“In as much as it makes any sense at all, the Government message today is that they have set up a compensation fund to pay money to people who themselves have caused any problems that they have and for whom the future apparently holds nothing but great opportunities.
“There is only one reason why Boris Johnson didn’t meet Scottish fishermen and it is because he is scared to face them. He used fishermen to get what he wanted in Brexit. Now that he has it he has no further interest in them.
“It is insulting to blame fishermen for the shambles he created. Talk of teething problems is complacent nonsense. If things are as rosy as the Prime Minister pretends then you wonder why they are setting up the task force at all?
“Instead of coming to Scotland today the Prime Minister should have stayed home, repaired the damage he has done and worked to save fishing livelihoods.”