Voting for any party but the Conservatives in next month’s General Election would mean “abandoning” Scotland’s fishing communities, Jackson Carlaw has claimed.
The Scottish Conservative interim leader used an early-morning trip to a fish market in Fraserburgh to insist the only way of “getting Brexit done” was by backing his party on December 12.
While Scotland voted against leaving the European Union in 2016, there was strong support for Brexit among the fishing industry.
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 (CFP).
“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.”
He added: “After Brexit, we will be an independent coastal state, just like Norway, Iceland and the Faroes.
“We will negotiate annually on quotas and access, taking back control over our own waters for the first time in more than 40 years.”
The Scottish Tory leader was joined by David Duguid, the party’s candidate for the Banff and Buchan seat in the General Election, who said Brexit was a “huge opportunity”.
He said: “Returning a majority Conservative Government is the only way to guarantee we respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum and leave the EU and the CFP.
“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.”
Paul Robertson, the SNP candidate for Banff and Buchan, said: “The Tories have made these same tired and hollow promises for three years now.
“The more we know, the worse any form of Brexit looks like for Scotland’s fisheries sector. Just as they sold out Scottish fishing on the way in, they can still sell us out on the way out – or in annual fisheries negotiations. ”
He added: “Despite Boris Johnson’s damaging Brexit deal singling out Scotland for a raw deal – threatening thousands of jobs and allowing Scotland’s fishing sector to be one of the hardest-hit sectors in the whole of the UK – the Scottish Tory MPs backed his deal without hesitation.
“Boris Johnson’s bad Brexit deal trades away the long-promised ‘sea of opportunity’ for the Scottish fishing industry and will treat the sector as expendable.
“At this election, only a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.”