SNP told to stop squandering taxpayer cash on ‘half-baked’ independence plot

Humza Yousaf’s SNP has been told to focus on the “real priorities” of those living in Scotland rather than peddling a “half-baked” independence plot.

Scottish Tories have responded with fury to a recent white paper published by the SNP government at Holyrood about its plans for an independent Scotland’s marine sector.

The 47-page document, which follows on from an EU paper published a few days previously, sets out how an independent Scotland “could negotiate for its own interests in international marine forums, without reliance on the UK Government”.

It states as an EU member state Scotland would seek to reform the EU’s CFP and “prioritise our marine interests at the heart of Europe”.

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Shadow minister Rachael Hamilton MSP promised to hold her SNP rivals to account over their “relentless obsession with independence” and desire to join the EU as an independent nation.

The Scottish Conservative shadow rural affairs secretary said: “The SNP should stop squandering taxpayers’ money on their relentless obsession with independence and fully focus on supporting Scotland’s fishermen right now.

“These half-baked proposals show that the SNP are hell-bent on aligning our fishermen once again with European Union rules, rather than helping to deliver the benefits available to them now.

“SNP ministers are kidding themselves if they think an independent Scotland would be able to reform the hated Common Fisheries Policy, which deeply damaged our fishermen and coastal communities for decades.

“We will hold SNP Parliamentarians to account over their wish to rejoin.

“The nationalist coalition have already shown how out-of-touch they are with coastal communities and the industry this year by proposing their reckless plans for Highly Protected Marine Areas.

“It is rich of them to talk about supporting Scotland’s marine sector when they’ve just cut £3million from marine Scotland’s budget.

“Mairi Gougeon – the SNP’s Rural Affairs Secretary – should focus on the real priorities of those living and working in rural Scotland, rather than aiming to break up the United Kingdom at every turn.”

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The SNP report, Our Marine Sector in an Independent Scotland, was launched on Tuesday by Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon.

She told the Press and Journal: “Scotland is a proud maritime nation and our marine sector is a national asset. But it is only with the full powers of independence that we can unlock its full potential.

“Brexit has significantly impacted Scotland’s marine sector, creating major barriers to trade, reducing access to labour and a loss of fishing opportunities for parts of our fleet.

“As an independent EU member state, Scotland would for the first time be able to negotiate for its own priorities at the heart of Europe.”

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