London Branch of the Scottish National Party hosted a discussion session on Scotland's Fisheries Industry and the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

Ian Hudghton MEP led with an account of the lengthy saga of CFP reform talks which had culminated in a disastrous result for Scotland at the Council of Fisheries Ministers, where all final decisions are taken, last December.

In his speech to London SNP members Ian Hudghton said:

"It is highly appropriate that this event is being held in London because it is from here, in Whitehall and Westminster, that Scotland's problems in terms of EU representation, stem. It was the UK Fisheries Minister who betrayed our coastal communities by voting against our interests in Brussels. The Scots Fisheries Minister may only attend these crucial meetings if given a permit by Westminster, and he does not have a vote!

"Last December, Scotland came off worst of all EU fishing nations - suffering drastic quota cuts, draconian limits on days at sea, a limited, rather than permanent, extension to the 12 mile limit and a real threat to the fundamental principle of Relative Stability arising from a review.

"Since December 2002, the UK Government has given support to a proposal to hand over marine conservation under the CFP to Brussels as an exclusive competence under the draft EU constitution.

"This catalogue of betrayal is unacceptable. Only with Independence can Scotland win the right to top table representation in Europe, and to ensure that Scotland's vital interests are properly catered for."

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