A leading Scottish Tory failed to give backing to SNP
Euro-MP Ian Hudghton in his attempt to return fisheries control to
Scotland. In a crucial meeting in the European parliament today, Struan
Stevenson MEP abstained on a series of votes which sought to limit
Brussels' control over fisheries. Mr Hudghton however welcomed the
decision of Lib Dem MEP Elspeth Attwooll to back the SNP position of
removing exclusive fisheries control from the proposed constitution of
Mr Hudghton stated:
"Mr Stevenson's decision to abstain on every single one of
today's fisheries votes shows political cowardice of the highest degree.
Mr Stevenson always claims that his position as president of the European
parliament's fisheries gives him enhanced powers. What's the point in
having a Scottish president if he doesn't fight for Scottish fishermen?
"Congratulations must however go out to Elspeth Attwooll
who defied her Holyrood colleagues and gave full backing to the SNP's
stance of removing fisheries from the exclusive powers of the EU.
"I hope that Mrs Attwooll is successful in persuading her
colleagues in the Scottish Executive to follow suit and back this
position. At the same time, I hope Mr Stevenson's colleagues in Edinburgh
take notice of the fact that their man in Europe failed to back the party
line of abolishing the failed CFP".
Notes for editors
The vote in
today's fisheries committee was on a report written by Struan Stevenson on
the proposed Constitution for Europe. In his report, Mr Stevenson sought
to enshrine the CFP in the Constitution.
sought to change the report to the effect that fisheries control would be
removed from Brussels' control. Mr Stevenson abstained in every vote.
signed up to an SNP amendment which called the current draft of the
Constitution "anomalous, unjustified and legally unworkable" with respect
to the fisheries sections.
Attwooll's position contrasts with Lib Dem minister Tavish Scott MSP. In
a Scottish Parliament debate on 12th June 2003 he stated: "The SNP claims
that the convention proposes additional competence for the EU in the
fisheries field. That is untrue. Nothing in the draft proposals under
consideration…would bring about any change to the current position".