Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has said that there is “no excuse” for the Scottish Government being short on vital health inspectors needed for post-Brexit checks of fishing catches. After 31 December all landed fish to be exported to the EU will require an official health certificate, but the Press and Journal has reported that the Scottish Government has not recruited sufficient inspectors for demand, with just over a month to go.
SNP Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has blamed the UK government for its “pursuit of a hard Brexit”.
Mr Carmichael said:
“The SNP are never slow to laugh at the Tories for their lorry queues in Kent but if fishermen cannot even get their fish on the quay in Lerwick or Peterhead because of a lack of health inspectors, that laughter will have a hollow ring to it.
“There is no excuse. We have known for months that these health certificates would be needed, even with a trade deal with the EU. I raised concerns about the issue almost two years ago, when the Scottish Government itself had estimated that 150,000 certificates would be needed.
“They knew about the need for inspectors then – why have they been sitting on their hands since? Making Brexit worse than it needs to be is government negligence whether it is by Westminster or Holyrood.
“If the nationalist ministers in Holyrood spent less time obsessing about supermarkets selling food with a Union Jack on its label and a little more time doing the jobs they are paid to do then we might not be in this mess.”