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Scottish Conservative acting leader claims vote for any other party would harm fishing industry on visit to Fraserburgh

The acting leader of the Scottish Conservatives claimed that a vote for any other party would mean “abandoning our fishing fleets to EU rules” as he visited the north-east.

Jackson Carlaw issued the rallying call as he visited Fraserburgh fish market to offer his support for the Conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid, in the upcoming general election.

His party has campaigned to ensure the UK leaves the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and the issue is expected to play a major role in how people in the constituency vote next month.

Yesterday, Mr Carlaw said: “Voters in coastal communities like Fraserburgh have a clear choice at this election.

“A vote for the Scottish Conservatives means getting Brexit sorted and getting our fishermen out of the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy.

“A vote for anyone else risks abandoning our fishing fleets to EU rules and a situation where foreign vessels catch more than half the fish in our waters.

“We will negotiate annually on quotas and access, taking back control over our own waters for the first time in more than 40 years.”

Mr Carlaw added: “This election is not about personalities.

“Whatever party you have voted for before doesn’t matter, it’s time to put personalities aside.

“It really comes down to ending constitutional divide, saying no to a second independence referendum and getting Brexit sorted.”

Earlier this week, Nicola Sturgeon told The Press and Journal that voters in Aberdeenshire seats which were once held by the SNP had grown “disillusioned” with their Tory replacements.

But yesterday, Mr Carlaw insisted he was “optimistic” about the Conservatives’ chances in the north-east.

“I feel our prospects are very strong in the north-east and people recognise the work that we’ve done,” he said.

Studies have suggested that 54% of people in Banff and Buchan voted Leave during the EU referendum – making Brexit a key battleground for those contesting the seat.

The Scottish Conservatives believe the odds are in their favour in the area, with the promise of “getting Brexit sorted” forming a key part of the party’s manifesto.

During the snap election in 2017, Mr Duguid took the Banff and Buchan seat from Eilidh Whiteford of the SNP.

There was a surge in votes for the Scottish Conservatives in the north-east with the Tories almost sweeping the board.

There were a number of shock defeats – including Angus Robertson who lost his Moray seat to Conservative candidate Douglas Ross.

The key challenge in Mr Duguid’s re-election campaign is that people in the Banff and Buchan area are “simply fed up”, he said.

Mr Duguid added: “I’m committed to getting Brexit and that’s how I plan to continue being a voice for not only the fishing industry but also a voice for other key industries in the north-east.”

Addressing the issue of the UK’s CFP membership, Mr Duguid insisted that arrangements to depart were prepared and poised to be progressed.

He said: “We have a deal in place that is supported by both the catching and processing sectors.

“We must get it over the line. People here in Fraserburgh know there is a huge opportunity ahead of us as we leave the EU.

“Our fishing communities have suffered under the Common Fisheries Policy for too long – we cannot afford to lose this chance to get out of the EU and seize the huge opportunity that lies ahead.”

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