The SNP’s Westminster leader has mocked Boris Johnson for failing to deliver the “sea of opportunity” he promised after Brexit.
Ian Blackford raised the case of a constituent, who is a producer and exporter of shellfish, experiencing his “worst nightmare” since the UK’s departure from the EU.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, the Scottish politician told the Commons: “After loading his lorry of fresh local seafood on Monday, as he has done so for 35 years, his driver faced bureaucracy and delays.
“Brexit red tape now means £40,000 of his fresh high-quality produce is lost, unable to be sold.
“Mr Speaker, that £40,000 produce is income for over 100 local families in many remote and fragile communities.
“Can the prime minister tell me where is the ‘sea of opportunity’ that he and his Scottish Tories promised?”
But the prime minister simply insisted that the Tories were putting £100 million into supporting the fishing industry, before complaining the SNP were proposing to break up the UK and taking Scotland back into the EU.
“Thereby throwing away all those opportunities in a way that I think the right honourable gentleman opposite [Keir Starmer] was totally absurd, and I’m amazed he continued on that track”.
Blackford said his answer was an “insult to all fisherman facing loss today”.
“The reality is Mr Speaker that a third of Scottish fishing fleet is tied up in the harbour. Some boats are landing in Denmark, rather than Scotland, to avoid Brexit bureaucracy.
“Scottish seafood exporters are losing upwards of £1 million a day. Seafood Scotland says all the extra red tape is an ‘almost impossible task’, it’s even forced ferry operators to pause load deliveries to the continent.”
Blackford pointed out that the EU had provided a £5 billion to support businesses with Brexit – with Ireland receiving £1 billion.
He called on Johnson to explain when Scotland would receive similar levels of support and compensation for the loss of income.
But instead, the prime minister turned his attention to the money spent on IndyRef2 by the SNP, insisting the Scottish government should be focused on the pandemic.