SCOTTISH Conservative and Unionist leader Ruth Davidson will be in Peterhead today to answer local fishing industry leaders’ call for Scotland’s fisheries not to be a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.

She will do so against the background of a “bombshell” letter from Andrea Leadsom, the UK Secretary of State in charge of fisheries.

The National:

In the letter she admits parts of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will become part of UK, and presumably Scottish, domestic law.

In a letter to Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Leadsom said the UK Government would try to “disapply” the most unpopular and unworkable elements of the EU CFP, but had to admit that some of the policy would still apply to the UK.

Leadsom wrote: “No decision has yet been made on the extent to which the EU legislation governing the Common Fisheries Policy will be incorporated into domestic law.

“The Government will continue to champion sustainable fisheries and we are committed to ongoing cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks and ending discards.”

Eilidh Whiteford, SNP candidate in Banff and Buchan where she was elected as MP on 2015, commented: “This letter is a bombshell which utterly demolishes the Tories’ bogus claims about fishing.

“The cat is now out of the bag — while Ruth Davidson is heading to the North East to pretend the Tories are the fishermen’s friends, her Westminster bosses are plotting a gigantic sell-out.

“The letter couldn’t be clearer — for all their rhetoric, the Tories are planning to incorporate key parts of the CFP ‘into domestic law’. And they are also ‘committed to ongoing cooperation with other countries over the management of shared stocks’.

“That means that they are planning to use Scottish waters and our fishing industry as a Brexit bargaining chip. In doing so, they are also taking an enormous gamble with the livelihoods of those fish processors that depend on European exports by jeopardising our position within the single market.

“A vote for the SNP will show the Tories that they will not get away with selling out Scotland’s fishing communities for a second time.”

Whiteford was referring to a Scottish Office paper on entering the common market which was released under the 30-year rule, in which officials wrote that “in the wider UK context they [the fishermen] must be regarded as expendable”.

The fishing industry in Scotland has been adamant that Scottish fishing grounds should not be a Brexit bargaining chip.

Bertie Armstrong said: “The whole industry, from those who go to sea through the processors to the hauliers, is united behind one simple aim: our coming out of the EU and the CFP.

“Brexit offers us a huge opportunity to re-assert control of our waters and to establish once and for all a sensible, practicable new fisheries management regime.”

The Government’s Brexit White Paper merely says: “Given the heavy reliance on UK waters of the EU fishing industry and the importance of EU waters to the UK, it is in both our interests to reach a mutually beneficial deal that works for the UK and the EU’s fishing communities.”

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative candidate for Banff and Buchan, last night said: “The Conservative Government at Westminster is following through on the democratic will of the British people to leave the EU.”