THE SNP has called for Westminster’s fisheries minister to quit after she said she had been busy with a Christmas event and had not read the Brexit deal.
Victoria Prentis MP told was asked whether her “jaw dropped” when she saw the details of the deal around fisheries, which had been such a sticking point throughout the negotiation process.
She responded: “No. The agreement came when we were all very busy on Christmas Eve, and in my case organising the local Nativity trail.
“We’d been waiting and waiting, it looked like it was coming for probably four days before it actually arrived.
“I, for one, had gone through, as I’m sure, members of the committee had, a gamut of emotions over those four days.”
The village #nativity looked a little different from usual but it was so lovely to stick to our Christmas Eve tradition and come together on our nativity trail #christmas #Christmas2020 #MerryChristmas pic.twitter.com/2j5HO8d8tW
— Victoria Prentis (@VictoriaPrentis) December 24, 2020
The Tory MP also caused concern after suggesting one solution to border delays was for Brits to eat more fish.
She said: “We export 70 per cent of what we catch in this country to the EU and we’re ambitious to carry on at that level but we will, I’m sure, also in the future want to eat more of what we catch here.”
The minister admitted that “things are tricky at the moment” but said her team was “working hard” to resolve issues as they arose.
She added: “I think the deal is a good one for the UK, in fisheries terms, it’s true to say that we had, as an industry, dreamed some pretty big dreams and in some cases it’s true to say that we didn’t get everything we asked for. ”
The SNP’s Brexit spokeswoman, Dr Philippa Whitford MP, said Ms Prentis now must consider her position.
She said: “Due to Brexit-induced bureaucracy, Scotland’s fishing communities are already experiencing severe disruption and cannot get their produce to their customers in the EU market on time.
“Having already lost thousands of pounds in discarded seafood, many boats in my constituency are now tied up in the harbour.
“For the Tory government’s Fisheries Minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable and makes her position untenable.”
Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, who represents Orkney and Shetland, added: “It is clear that the fisheries minister was not brought into discussions on the deal until after the event.
“Surely she could have taken a little time away from the festivities to look after her own departmental responsibilities?”