Today, Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar has reacted with consternation to a letter sent to him from Damian Green MP, the Minister for Immigration. For the past three years, Mr MacNeil has been fighting to keep local fishing boats from tying up by insuring that their crews, some of which are from the Philippines, are able to stay in the UK to continue working on the boats.

Speaking today Mr MacNeil said,

‘Damian Green’s letter shows the complete lack of respect for Scottish island economies, especially after I made a cross-party case with Struan Stevenson, Tory MEP.

‘Sadly, Mr Green has washed his hands of the fishing industry and trade. To call this a low-skilled field is an insult to the thousands of fishermen that work tirelessly in Scotland to provide food for the world.

‘Last year Scotland exported £1bn worth of food to the world. A portion of that comes from the hard work of people like these fishermen and the workers at businesses like Barratlantic.

‘While they have been trying to find replacement workers, and have been advertising since February, none have turned up who have to skills to match what they already have.

‘Interestingly and, I’m glad, enough that cooks, welders and, artists are considered to be important enough to stay but not these fishermen who have been here for years benefiting our local communities, who have been supporting processing factory jobs and paying taxes.

‘Mr Green and the Conservative party seem determined on turning away and deporting honest, law-abiding immigrants who contribute our economy. As long as these powers stay in London, we’ll have no way to combat them.

“We need independent control of our immigration to stop Westminster further damaging our economy.”