A SCOTTISH LibDem MP has called on the UK Government to “step in” over Edinburgh’s controversial plans to ban fishing in swathes of Scotland’s seas.

Jamie Stone, the MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, urged the UK Government to “work with” the Scottish Government to find an alternative to the much-protested Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) plans currently being considered by ministers.

His suggestion was met with jeers from the SNP benches – with one saying “there’s your pals, Jamie” – as he made the call for the two govenrments to work in tandem to devise a “conservation scheme that is acceptable in our fishing communities all round the UK”.

Invoking the dramatic moment Fergus Ewing tore up the Scottish Government’s consultation paper on HPMAs, Stone said: “The Prime Minister may well have seen the astonishing sight of a former Scottish Government minister standing up in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament and tearing up – literally ripping into pieces – the Scottish Government’s Highly Protected Marine Areas proposal.

“This proposal is deeply controversial all over Scotland and has even led to it being compared with a second Highland Clearances. Is this not now the time for the UK Government to step in and work with the devolved…”

READ MORE: SNP MSP Fergus Ewing rips up HPMA plan in Holyrood chamber

At this point Stone was jeered by SNP MPs – with one shouting, “there you have it”.

He continued: “Mr Speaker, I will not be silenced because it matters, this matters deeply to my constituents, deeply.

“Is it not time for the UK Government to step in, work with, work with, the devolved administrations to come up with a scheme that works and is acceptable. A conservation scheme that is acceptable in our fishing communities all round the UK.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded: "He is a passionate champion, as he should be, for his local fishing communities and he's right to highlight the concerns that have been raised not just by them but by members of the SNP's own party about the potentially damaging impact of their plans to introduce the Highly Protected Marine Areas in the way that they are. 

"I would encourage the SNP Government to continue working with the Scottish fishing industry and coastal communities to understand their concerns. 

"And as we've seen them recently U-turn on other poor-thought-out decisions, hopefully they can re-look at this one too."