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Brexit fishing talks disruption claim is denied by Scottish Cabinet minister

A Scottish Government minister has denied it undermined Brexit talks by urging both sides to compromise on the fishing sector.

UK Government trade officials are said to be furious at the Scottish Government for their intervention in deadlocked negotiations, claiming it made the talks harder.

Regular discussions, separate to the Brexit negotiations, are held between Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, other Government ministers and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

According to a report in The Times, sources at Westminster said they “called out” their Holyrood counterparts during an official catch-up between the Scottish and UK Governments for apparently saying “both sides need to move a bit”.

A UK Government source told the newspaper: “This behaviour does not just undermine the UK Government, it undermines Scotland and its fishermen by stopping the UK from speaking as one voice to say that we want to be an independent coastal state once again.”

Asked about the story, Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Mike Russell told BBC Radio Scotland he will continue to call for compromise.

He said: “I think what the UK is saying is that we’ve attempted to disrupt negotiations – they’ve actually been able to do that themselves without any difficulty, they didn’t need our help to do so. But what actually has happened is part of the normal conversation that the Scottish Government has had with the EU over the past four years, and at all times we’ve stressed the need to compromise on both sides.”

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