Brexit: Scottish Minister slams Royal Navy fisheries plans
There was outrage among fisheries and Brexiteers after the SNP’s Justice Secretary vowed to ban Royal Navy warships from Scottish waters. Humza Yousaf hit back after the UK put the Royal Navy on standby in case of a no deal Brexit. He told the BBC: “The UK Government gunboat diplomacy is not welcome in Scottish waters.”
Mr Yousaf added: “We will protect our fisheries but we won’t do that by threatening our NATO allies, our friends and neighbours.”
He later tweeted: “62 percent of UK EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) is in Scotland.
“Police Scot and Marine Scot will protect fisheries if necessary, chief constable has primacy.
“UK Government has confirmed with me Royal Navy will not be deployed unless chief constable requests.”
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This comes after the Ministry of Defence confirmed on Friday that four navy boats are prepared to patrol British fishing waters if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.
Boris Johnson and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday it was now unlikely a deal would be agreed by the imposed deadline of Sunday.
There are concerns about possible clashes in British waters between British and foreign fishing vessels if no trade deal is reached.
However, the French appeared to mock the Ministry of Defence warning by using a British wartime slogan in response: “Keep calm and carry on.”
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EU vessels would not have access to fish in British waters if the UK leaves without a trade deal in place.
Fishing communities backed the Royal Navy plans, with one fish seller Terrilea Coglan telling Sky News: “No deal is what everyone want.
“I don’t think there is a fishermen alive that doesn’t want a no deal.”
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Furious fishing campaigners and Brexiteers took to social medi to bash the SNP’s response, saying: “The SNP now think they can order the Royal Navy and the UK Government about. The SNP will try anything to undermine the UK Government, even if it means ruining our fishing industry.”
One person tweeted: “Get a grip. It is British waters and Royal Navy can do what they want. Don’t tell our armed forces what to do.”
Another added: “Yousaf will just sit back and allow the Dutch super trawlers to plunder Scottish waters. The British ‘Gun Boats’ as you so stirringly put it, routinely stop foreign boats and check them out.”
Others remarked: “Should you not be protecting the rights of OUR Scottish fisherman.
“Why do the SNP side with the EU against its OWN people. It is BRITISH Waters anyway you separatist idiot and the Royal Navy is doing their job by protecting us. Zip it.”
Several Tory MPs backed the plans, including Daniel Kawczynski who tweeted: “In the event of no deal with EU on Sunday we must receive absolute guarantee from Boris Johnson that British naval forces will be deployed from January 1st to prevent illegal French fishing in our waters.”
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