YOU might think that the least we can expect from government ministers is that they have a rudimentary knowledge of major developments within their area of responsibility. The UK Prime Minister seems to disagree.
Faced with his fisheries minister’s frankly shocking confession that she had been too busy organising a school nativity trail to read the long-awaited Brexit deal Boris Johnson simply shrugged his shoulders and urged us all to move along.
Victoria Prentis told the Lords EU environment subcommittee that ‘’we were all very busy’’ when the details of the agreement were circulated on Christmas Eve, ‘’in my case organising the local nativity trail’’.
She added: ‘’I for one had gone through, as I’m sure members of this committee had, a gamut of emotions over those four days.’’
Not enough to persuade the minister to make the effort to actually read the details of a deal which has had a devastating effect on the Scottish fishing industry.
This site yesterday posted 10 Brexit disasters which have unfolded in the days since the Brexit deal took effect and the Scottish fishing industry featured prominently. Red tape and rising costs have significantly pushed up costs for those companies exporting seafood to Europe.
Those and other problems have delayed exports getting to their destination, which is especially difficult for businesses which emphasise the freshness of their produce.
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFO) has said there is ‘’mounting concern over the export of fish to Europe’’.
For the Tory government’s fisheries minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable
In the light of those developments surely Prentis’ failure to be on top of her brief at such a crucial time was a major failing. The SNP certainly thought so. They said she should step down.
The party’s Brexit spokesperson at Westminster MP Philippa Whitford said: “Due to Brexit-induced bureaucracy, Scotland’s fishing communities are already experiencing severe disruption and cannot get their produce to their customers in the EU market on time.
“For the Tory government’s fisheries minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable and makes her position untenable.”
Such pressure would have forced many Prime Ministers to act … but not Johnson. A No 10 spokesperson told the PA news agency that the prime minister had confidence in his ”busy” minister.
(Photo credit ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images).