Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for her handling of the Brexit issue in Scotland – and one Conservative Party figure hit out at the SNP’s “grubby spin operation” during a row over Scottish fisheries.
The row over Scotland’s fisheries post-Brexit erupted in May 2017 – as Nicola Sturgeon accused the Conservative government of attempting to betray Scottish fishermen. She claimed it showed the “Tories are planning to sell out Scottish fishing”. She faced backlash from fishermen in Scotland however, as head of the SFF – Bertie Armstrong – Chief Executive of the SFF – stating that on “any reading” it makes clear that the UK Government is committed to exiting the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
He added: “In fact, at our meeting with Ms Leadsom in March she said that we are leaving the EU and we are leaving the CFP.
“It is evident that the government shares the determination of the entire industry to seize this opportunity to re-generate our coastal communities.”
Then leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland – Ruth Davidson – accused Ms Sturgeon and the SNP of “amateur leaking and baseless spin”.
She also tweeted: “Frankly amateur leaking to the National backfires as SFF backs UK gov position.
“Will Nicola Sturgeon correct her social media nonsense?”
The SNP leader cited a section of the letter that said ministers were considering the extent to which EU legislation governing the CFP will be incorporated into UK law.
SNP MP, Eilidh Whiteford, said the letter was “a bombshell which utterly demolishes the Tories’ bogus claims about fishing”.
But Ms Davidson described the criticism as “scaremongering” and called on the First Minister to “retract her absurd claims”.
She said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s grubby spin operation has been found out – and the SNP’s scaremongering has been exposed for the trash it is.
“The First Minister’s hands are all over this – she took to social media to whip up unfounded claims about the UK Government’s approach to our fishing industry.
“Scotland’s fishing leaders have directly contradicted her to make it clear they are satisfied with the UK Government’s approach.
“If Nicola Sturgeon has even a shred of decency, she will retract her absurd claims.”
A year later, Ms Sturgeon’s party was also accused of plotting “a real sell out” of Scotland’s fishermen.
Ian Blackford, who serves as the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons, took aim at the Government in Parliament on multiple occasions.
In 2018, he said: “Scottish fishing rights were thrown overboard as if they were discarded fish.
“So much for taking back control. More like trading away Scotland’s interests.
“This is an absolute dereliction of the promises Scottish Conservative members and the secretary of the state for the environment, food and rural affairs made to Scotland. Shame on them.”
A few days later he accused former Prime Minister Theresa May and her party of selling out Scottish fishermen, leading to a fiery row.
Mrs May responded: “He talked about a sell out of Scottish fishermen, the real sell out of fishermen is the SNP’s policy to stay in the Common Fisheries Policy.
“Who is it that has been standing up for Scottish fishermen in this house? The Conservative Party.”