The Home Secretary is “stopping the boats” over her department’s decision not to create a “bespoke visa scheme” for the fishing industry, a Lib Dem MP has claimed.
Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) warned “many fishing boats are tied up unable to go to sea” as a “consequence of that announcement”, as he raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Responding, Rishi Sunak said the Government were “proud champions of the UK’s fishing industry” adding “we’re always looking to engage with them to make sure that they get the support they need”.
Mr Carmichael said: “Last week the Home Office announced that they would not be setting up a bespoke visa scheme for the fishing industry of the sort that is already available for people working in fish farms and in offshore wind farms.
“It’s the only time this Home Secretary has been successful in her stated ambition of stopping the boats.
“The Prime Minister and his party promised our fishermen a sea of opportunity … but what’s the point of a sea of opportunity if they can’t get crew to fish in it?”
Mr Sunak replied: “I’m not sure I recognise the characterisation that (he) put forward.
“We are proud champions of the UK’s fishing industry, not least with our £100 million investment in fishing communities and we’re always looking to engage with them to make sure that they get the support they need.
“Crucially, all the opportunities that are there for them because of Brexit, we’re keen to make sure that we deliver.”