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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Call for Clarification Over DEFRA Minister 'Downgrading' George Eustice in Peterhead

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Scottish National Party has called for clarification from George Eustice MP over the apparent downgrading of his position in DEFRA as he visits Peterhead harbour today [Thursday] with new Scottish Secretary of State, Alistair Carmichael.Eustice was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment, Water and Rural Affairs in David Cameron’s recent government reshuffle, however Eustice’s predecessor was a Minister of State. The UK government website claims the titles are currently under review.

Commenting, Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

“It would be helpful if George Eustice would provide some clarification on his new job title and tell us if, in fact, his position has been downgraded following the reshuffle.

“DEFRA represents Scotland in important EU negotiations on Common Fisheries Policy and so it is worrying if the ministerial position has been downgraded. Scotland is a fishing nation, and we need to be adequately represented. Former DEFRA Minster Sir James Paice has raised concerns that the role appears to have been downgraded.

“The new Scottish Secretary of State should also shed some light because already Scotland is being short-changed – we are not represented in the European Commission and at present, Scotland’s Fisheries Minister requires a permit from Westminster to attend EU meetings. 

“Rather than going via a UK government which doesn’t share Scotland’s priorities when it comes to the fishing industry, independence would allow Scottish interests to be better heard in Europe."

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