SNP accused of betraying fishing communities over '˜People's Vote'

A group of  SNP councillors have been accused of a 'betrayal' of fishing communities after voting in favour of a vote on the Brexit deal.

Fishing leaders have criticised the SNP. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Fishing leaders have criticised the SNP. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The accusation was made as  Aberdeenshire Council became the first local authority in Scotland to vote for a so-called People’s Vote.

A majority of SNP councillors banded together with some Liberal Democrat, Green, independent and Labour members to defeat the ruling Tory administration on the issue.

The council voted by 33 to 26 in favour of a motion by Green councillor Martin Ford to back another referendum, which in this case would include a Remain option.

SNP councillors to back the referendum motion included members for coastal wards including Fraserburgh (represented by Brian Topping and Charles Buchan), Troup (represented by Ross Cassie), Banff (represented by Glen Reynolds) and Peterhead (represented by Anne Allan).

Their support for the referendum puts them at odds with the official SNP view on the issue. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not stand in the way of a People’s Vote, but has not backed the campaign,

Two years ago there was a strong Brexit vote in Scotland’s fishing communities where EU withdrawal was seen as a means to exiting the much-criticised EU common fisheries policy.

Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, David Duguid, said: “I am astonished that SNP members representing fishing communities in the north-east would seek to revisit the 2016 referendum.

“The British people – including those here in Banff and Buchan – voted to leave the EU. People voted to leave for a number of different reasons. But in coastal communities like those across Banff and Buchan, many people just wanted out of the common fisheries policy.

“Failure to respect the outcome of the vote would be an utter betrayal of our fishermen and a travesty for democracy in this country. The UK Government is delivering on the will of the British people and we are at a critical stage in negotiations. The question for Nicola Sturgeon is – does she agree with her SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire and is she also willing to disregard the views of our fishermen?”

SNP councillor Richard Thomson said: “The SNP moved an amendment recognising the severe damage that Brexit will have upon Aberdeenshire – something which the Tories seem to be recklessly ignoring. That damage will be acutely felt by key north-east industries such as our food and drink, and oil and gas sectors. We’ll leave the Tories to act as cheerleaders for Theresa May’s botched negotiations.”