The Tories have sold out Scotland’s fishing communities… again

More than 45 years ago, the Tories described Scotland’s fishermen as “expendable” in European negotiations.

That was when Ted Heath was the PM doing deals amid the UK’s entry into the then Common Market.

Almost half a century on, there’s a different occupant of Number 10, but, to paraphrase Theresa May, “nothing has changed” – the Tories are still selling out Scotland’s fishing fleet and our national interest.

The scale of the betrayal is breath-taking.

Just last week, Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove promised that we would be out of the CFP on day one after Brexit.

They even claimed to have Mrs May’s endorsement of that position.

Seven days later, the deal was done and the sell-out was complete – Scotland’s fishermen will still be bound by CFP rules, but without any seat at the table or say in how quotas are agreed.

It is truly the worst outcome imaginable – one that could only have been cooked up by this chaotic, incompetent, double-dealing Tory government.

But what came next was truly jaw-dropping.

Instead of being shamefaced over their blatant betrayal, top Tories like Gove were expressing their “disappointment” at the deal – the same one they had just willingly signed up to.

And the Scottish Tory MPs who professed their anger then got a whole 10 minutes with the PM – but no guarantees on anything.

The Tories’ attempts to turn this back on the SNP are as predictable as they are pathetic – yes, we support EU membership, but we have called for many years for reform of the CFP.

And the example of Norway, in the single market but outside the CFP, shows what is possible.

There is only one party and one government responsible for this shameful sell-out – and the Tories will never be forgiven by many in our fishing communities.

Fergus Ewing is Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity