THE Tories have accused the SNP of being “shackled” to a flawed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), after ministers refused to rule out re-joining it after Brexit.

In a Conservative-led debate at Holyrood on fishing, the party said leaving the EU offered a chance to create a “fit-for-purpose and tailor-made fisheries management regime” that would better suit the needs of Scottish fishing and reduce access to UK waters by foreign fleets.

The Tories said they believed “Scotland must not return to the common fisheries policy”.

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MSPs voted 83-27 on a motion which dropped the Tory refusal to rejoin the CFP in favour an SNP and Labour call for full devolution of fishing powers to Holyrood after Brexit.

Tory MSP Peter Chapman predicted a “more prosperous future" for the industry after Brexit ended the UK’s membership of the CFP, saying it had "resulted in persistent failure” and caused “nothing but frustration, resentment and distress for those involved".

He said: "We have a positive vision of a prosperous, sustainable and environmentally-friendly industry. The SNP, on the other hand, have nothing to offer other than more of the same.

"Under their plans, we would remain shackled to the CFP, which is seen by our fishermen as being nothing short of a total disaster."

Two SNP candidates, Eilidh Whiteford in Banff & Buchan and Mike Weir in Angus, recently signed a pledge against ever re-joining the CFP, despite the SNP policy of independence in the EU meaning Scotland would have to re-join it after a Yes vote.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing highlighted a Scottish Office document dating from Britain's entry into the EU which stated that fishermen "must be regarded as expendable" and called on Mr Chapman to apologise on behalf of the Conservatives for such a "betrayal".

Refusing, Mr Chapman said it quoted a junior official 47 years ago.

Mr Ewing then highlighted Scottish Secretary David Mundell's comment that "going back to the position where the UK is in control of its own fishing is not one that is realistic".

Labour's Rhoda Grant said: "The SNP are looking both ways at once, promising to rejoin the EU but come out of the CFP. This is nonsense. It's also wrong of the Conservatives to say a hard Brexit would lead to a free trade agreement with the EU. That wouldn't be the case. "We need to stop the political posturing that turns our fishing community into pawns in a game."

After the vote, Mr Chapman said the SNP’s “chaotic position” on the CFP had been laid bare.