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12 November 2013

Common Agricultural Policy Budget Allocation

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): I wonder whether the minister can welcome what Alistair Carmichael said on his website on 25 June 2013 in relation to an EU decision. He said that “peripherality is a characteristic that should be supported and protected”, suggesting that he might have been part of the consensus that emerged on the subject. Is it not time that Alistair Carmichael became Scotland’s man in London and not the other way round?

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment (Richard Lochhead): I believe that, when the new Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, looks back—I was going to say “in a few years”, but perhaps even in a few days—he will be deeply embarrassed by his comments in response to Owen Paterson’s decision last Friday. More important, however, I think that his constituents in Orkney and Shetland will be deeply disappointed and will feel betrayed by the lack of support that they have had from the Secretary of State for Scotland on the issue.

However, it is not too late for him to get behind Scotland’s cause in the coming days and weeks over the issue and the fact that he stood by Owen Paterson’s completely indefensible decision.

I congratulate Stewart Stevenson on his detective skills. He is quite right to highlight that comment from June 2013. We have special challenges in this country, and that is why a formula is in place to ensure that the funding is decided on a per hectare basis.

Stewart Stevenson
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