The SNP has warned Downing Street against implementing “tit-for-tat” trade barriers following reports that ministers may restrict imports on certain goods from the EU in retaliation for its ban on shellfish.
The Sunday Telegraph reported No 10 was exploring ways to end a number of agreements to export mineral water and seed potatoes to the EU in response to the ban.
The DEFRA Secretary even wrote to the European Commission stating that the rules have no “scientific or technical justification”.
However, the Shellfish Association of Great Britain wrote to its members stating that in private the UK government had “changed this position” and confirmed that the EU’s stance “is correct”.
The SNP’s shadow DEFRA spokesperson, Deidre Brock, said: “Reports that UK government ministers are now exploring tit-for-tat measures against the EU seem reckless and crucially will do nothing to address the very serious challenges facing our food and fisheries sectors right now.
“The reality is that the Tories dragged Scotland out of the EU against our will and imposed a botched Brexit deal that has resulted in a mountain of red tape and high costs for businesses.
“The retaliatory moves are counter-productive and raise serious questions considering it was just weeks ago that DEFRA privately admitted the EU’s ban on UK shellfish exports was correct. The Brexit chaos is entirely of the Tory government’s own making and they must step up and take responsibility now.
“It is vital that the UK government ends the threats and instead gets round the table with our EU partners to work to support our industries and to remove the serious challenges.
“It must also bring forward a meaningful compensation package and look to secure a grace period for our hard-hit fishing communities.”