The deal on fishing access in the Prime Minister’s Brexit agreement has been described as “a spectacular broken promise” by the SNP.
The party said a clause in the UK-EU agreement which granted fishing access up to June 30, 2026, breached Scottish Conservative MPs’ previous commitments to the industry.
However, the UK Government hit back, saying the SNP’s stance was “breathtaking hypocrisy” given they supported Scotland returning to the EU’s common fisheries police (CFP).
Conservative ministers say the UK’s fishing quota will rise during the five-and-a-half year “adjustment period”, after which there will be full control.
In November 2018, a group of 13 Scottish Conservative MPs signed a letter calling for Brexit to deliver “complete control and full sovereignty over British waters”.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP said: “No-one in Scotland can ever again trust a word the Tories say. This is a massive sell-out.
“They have conned and deceived people. Their own words, when they talked about ‘betrayal’ and leaving the common fisheries policy ‘in name only’, have come back to haunt them.
“They said that access and quota shares with the EU must be negotiated on an annual basis without any pre-existing arrangement being in force.
“But in a spectacular broken promise, Boris Johnson’s UK Government have signed a deal that guarantees long-term access for EU boats.
“They said that ‘tying fishing to a trade deal’ was a red line that must not be crossed. But that is precisely what they have done.”
He continued: “The Tories have forced Brexit on Scotland which will mean a huge hit to the wider economy and jobs in the middle of a pandemic and recession.
“In an independent Scotland we would have a seat at the top table with a Scottish government fighting for our interests in Europe.
“The broken promises of Douglas Ross, Alister Jack and David Dugiud are completely unforgivable and they must be held to account.”
Responding to the SNP’s comments, a UK Government source said: “This is breathtaking hypocrisy from the SNP, who want to take the Scottish fishing industry right back into the CFP.
“We have sealed a deal that takes us out of the hated CFP, restores our status as an independent coastal state and ensures big increases in our share of the catch in our own waters.
“What’s more, we will invest £100m in our fishing industry to help it take advantage of these new opportunities.
“The question for the SNP is – will they back this great deal for Scotland and the whole UK?
“Or will they vote against it and support a no-deal Brexit?”
A spokeswoman for the Scotland Office said there would be a 25% uplift in the UK’s quota by the end of June 2026.
The spokeswoman said: “The deal recognises UK sovereignty over our own fishing waters and puts us in a position to rebuild our fishing fleet and increase quotas in the next few years, finally overturning the inequity that British fishermen have faced for over four decades.”