Minister in hot water over fishing boundary
Home Robertson to be grilled by committee
Press release issued by the Scottish National Party, 1 November 1999
Scottish Fisheries Minister John Home Robertson faces tough questioning tomorrow (Tuesday) when he appears before the Scottish Parliament Rural Affairs Committee to defend the removal of 6,000 square miles of Scottish fishing waters by Westminster earlier this year.
SNP committee member Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, the Shadow Fisheries Minister, has been leading the long-running SNP campaign to win back the 'stolen waters' by having the boundary for fishing jurisdiction between Scotland and England returned to its previous position along a line of latitude due east of the Border.
Mr Lochhead said: 'At last Mr Home Robertson will be able to explain to fishermen, the public and MSPs exactly why London Labour felt it necessary to steal a large part of Scotland's waters in such an underhand fashion — a cynical move which he supports.
'Last month the Minister tried to tell the Scottish Parliament that fishermen were not bothered about the boundary change. He could not have been more wrong — as the SNP told him and no doubt the Scottish Fishermen's Federation will make crystal clear tomorrow.
'Mr Robertson was busy at the end of last week trying to salvage his reputation through the Press ahead of tomorrow's meeting. Unfortunately for him, it back-fired and the sense of panic was palpable. He can redeem himself by fighting for the people he is there to serve and he could start by admitting the serious mistake made in altering this boundary.
'With a Scottish Parliament in place, Scottish Fisheries Ministers can no longer get away with treating the fishing industry in the contemptuous manner we have witnessed all too often from Labour and the Tories at Westminster in the past.'