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Call for Scottish Minister to Lead EU Fisheries Talks

SCOTLAND, UK - SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has renewed his call for Scotland's Fisheries Minister to be designated lead Minister for the UK at all European Union negotiations.

Mr. Hudghton has previously called on the UK Government to permanently appoint Scotland's Fisheries Minister in the lead role, and has had confirmation from the Brussels authorities that such a move would be acceptable and entirely within the control of the UK.

During his keynote speech, on The Future of Europe, at the SNP Conference in Perth over the weekend, Mr Hudghton said:

"It is incredible that, with the crucial rounds of EU annual quota talks getting underway, the UK Government has appointed a new inexperienced Minister with a brand new inexperienced team at DEFRA. No doubt the UK Minister, like his many predecessors, will demand to sit at the top table and call the shots in the run up to the crucial December Council.

"Surely this is the time for a commonsense approach to apply and for Richard Lochhead to be designated in the lead role for the UK. Richard is by far the most experienced Minister from any current part of the UK; Scotland has by far the biggest interest in terms of fish landings and it is ridiculous to gamble our interests in the hands of a UK Minister with absolutely no background in the complexities of EU fisheries talks."