UKIP fisheries spokesman, Mike Hookem MEP, has branded the SNP’s position on fishing as “in complete contradiction of itself and totally hypocritical”, saying “Sturgeon is trying to have her cake and eat it.”
Mr Hookem spoke out after it was revealed a revival in the Scottish fishing industry could derail Nicola Sturgeon’s dream of a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The Scottish fishing sector - which is seen as crucial to the SNP’s success in the rural north - has seen an upsurge in confidence since the UK voted to leave the EU; with orders for new vessels on the increase and fishermen desperate to get back to sea.
Scottish fishermen favour a hard Brexit that would see the whole of the UK pull out of the EU’s hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, despite the SNP saying they oppose the CFP, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been a vocal campaigner to remain in the EU.
In the latest twist to the SNP’s confused fisheries policy, Sturgeon has now admitted she would keep Scotland’s fishermen in the CFP if it meant an independent Scotland could retain its EU membership.
Speaking of the latest developments, Mr Hookem said, “The SNP are all at sea when it comes to the EU and fishing.”
“On one hand they oppose the CFP, but at the same time are desperately trying to remain a member of the EU. The simple fact is, if you are a member of the EU, then you must abide by the rules of the CFP and allow other EU countries to fish your waters. There is no middle ground; those are the rules, take it or leave it!”
“The problem for Sturgeon is that without the support of the northern fishing communities, her hopes of holding, never mind winning a second referendum are slim.”
“And while she may think her party’s hypocritical policy on remaining in the EU, but opposing the CFP will win her support, the fishermen in Scotland can already see the benefits that a hard Brexit will bring them and are preparing to exploit the opportunities.”
“Nicola Sturgeon may think she can have her cake and eat it, but the results of the last general election proves hard-line support for remaining in the EU is damaging her party’s previous electoral success.”
David Coburn MEP, UKIP’s leader in Scotland, added, “Sturgeon is completely out of touch with Scotland's fishing communities and working people in Scotland in general.”
“The prospect a swift, clean Brexit is already providing a boost to Scotland's fishing industry.”
“UKIP Scotland has been shown to have had the right idea and is building a new confident economy.”
“The only confusion being created for the industry is the Tories whose shilly-shallying about access to our waters. People need clarity.”