RUTH Davidson has come under pressure to say whether she knew EU fishing rules would continue to apply after Brexit despite issuing a statement saying they would not.

The First Minister quizzed the Scottish Conservative leader on the matter in Holyrood yesterday after it emerged on Monday that the industry would have to abide by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) during the transition period which runs until the end of 2020.

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In a joint statement issued with UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove on 11 March, Davidson said the Prime Minister had been clear the UK would be leaving the CFP.

“The Prime Minister has been clear: Britain will leave the CFP as of March 2019. We both support her wholeheartedly,” said the Davidson-Gove statement.

“Whatever differences we had on Brexit, we both agree that our fishing industry stands to benefit from our departure from the Common Fisheries Policy. We are both committed to doing all we can to make those benefits real.”

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But the statement came back to haunt Davidson at First Minister’s Questions yesterday when SNP backbencher Stewart Stevenson, who represents the fishing constituency of Banffshire and Buchan Coast, asked Sturgeon for her reaction to the fishermen’s anger over the continuation of the CFP post March 2019 when the UK leaves the EU.

“Is the First Minister aware of the very real anger among fishermen, fishing communities and people right across Scotland that, after being promised last week by Ruth Davidson that the Common Fisheries Policy would not apply once we left the European Union, we find that we have surrendered at UK level and that in 2020, the CFP will apply without the UK, fishermen or authorities having any say in the rules that will apply to fishing? Does the First Minister share my anger?” Stevenson asked.

The First Minister said she did share his anger and said the Scottish Tories had “broken” a promise made about leaving the CFP and had “betrayed” fishermen.

“It is a really serious issue. This week we have seen a broken promise and a complete betrayal by the Scottish Tories of the Scottish fishing industry. It is disgraceful,” she said.

“It was only a week or so ago that Ruth Davidson was issuing press releases – co-authored with Michael Gove, of all people – saying that the fishing community would be free of the CFP by March next year.

“Now we find out that the Scottish fishing community will still be governed by the CFP – and, to add insult to injury, there will be no votes around the table for it. It is utterly disgraceful. The only question for Ruth Davidson and the Tories is: when she issued that press release a couple of weeks ago, did she know that the promise was going to be broken, or is she just completely out of the loop with her United Kingdom colleagues?”

Davidson did not respond to the matter in the chamber.

She described the CFP development on Monday as an “an undoubted disappointment”, blaming the EU for “not willing to” shift on fishing access.

“During these negotiations, we wanted to gain control over our waters from as early as the end of next year,” she said. “Having spoken to fishing leaders today, I know they are deeply frustrated with this outcome. There is no ignoring the fact that this falls short of what they had hoped for in the short term.”