Its got back to Gove that Nicola Sturgeon’s officials have been holding meetings with EU which have said to have dented trade negotiations.
As a result of the meetings between Scottish and EU officials, Gove has warned Sturgeon that her actions have undermined talks. This week negotiations between Lord Frost and Michel Barnier continue over a video call as they try to find a deal.
Due to the intervention from Sturgeon, Gove has sent a letter to Scotland’s Constitution Secretary, Michael Russell saying their intervention has been “detrimental” to UK fisheries. It’s left those involved in the talks “disappointed” by the actions of Sturgeon’s intervention.
The impression given from the meetings has left Brussels thinking Scottish fishers agree with open access for EU boats to fish in Britain’s sovereign waters.
Gove said: “the interests of people right across the country, including in Scotland, and is negotiating with the EU on a UK-wide basis”.
“The Scottish Government accepts that international relations, including with the EU, is a reserved matter, and remains the sole responsibility of the UK Government.
“For this reason, I should record that we have been disappointed by the political level contacts that the Scottish Government, including the First Minister, have had during the period of the negotiations with the EU’s UK Task Force and specifically the EU’s Chief Negotiator.”
“This kind of contact and specifically the discussion of sensitive issues under negotiation” had negatively “affected the negotiating dynamic”.
He concluded: “In particular, the EU appears to have concluded from these contacts that EU offensive asks (for example on fisheries access and the permanent maintenance of the status quo on unfair Common Fisheries Policy quotas) are outcomes the Scottish Government, and perhaps even more damagingly, Scottish stakeholders, support.
“This is highly regrettable and damaging to UK interests including in Scotland.”
A spokesperson for Constitution Secretary, Michael Russell, added: “It is beyond belief that in the midst of a pandemic and economic recession the UK Government is determined to force on Scotland a low deal, or even a catastrophic no deal, Brexit outcome.
“The responsibility for this is entirely the UK Government’s as they alone have been conducting the negotiations.
“The Scottish Government will always stand up for Scotland’s interests, and make absolutely no apology for doing so.
“We remain extremely concerned about the approach being taken by the UK Government, which clearly goes against the interests of the Scottish seafood sector and our coastal communities, and puts at risk almost £700 million of seafood exports to the EU.”
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