Brexit deal for fisheries like ‘a pint of cold sick’, Conservative MP Douglas Ross says
Fishing boat - Image credit:PA
Moray MP Douglas Ross has compared the Brexit transition deal for fisheries to “a pint of cold sick”.
The Conservative MP for Moray is unhappy that the UK will stay in the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) during the two-year transition period, according to the latest draft of the Brexit agreement.
Many in the industry has expected the UK to leave the CFP immediately after Brexit in 2019, but according to the draft transition deal, the UK will remain in the CFP but the UK Government will only be consulted on quotas set by the EU over the following two years.
Ross blamed the setback on the EU, as well as taking a swipe at the SNP, saying, “the EU does not care about Scottish fishermen and neither do the SNP government, which actually wants us to re-join the Common Fisheries Policy and the EU”.
But he added: “But I have to say the UK Government has delivered far less than I hoped or expected.
“There is no spinning this as a good outcome. It would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than to try to sell this as a success.”
Fellow Scottish Conservative MP John Lamont confirmed on Twitter that he would vote against a deal if it did not have control of fishing stocks and vessel access, with Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson confirming he would have her backing.
The settlement has also been greeted with dismay by the fishing industry.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said it “falls far short of an acceptable deal.”
Armstrong said he did not trust the EU to look after Scottish fishermen.
He added: “As a consequence, we expect a written, cast iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the EU continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual Coastal States negotiations.”
Ruth Davidson said it was an “undoubted disappointment” that the UK would have to wait until 2020 to regain full control of fishing.
Last week she had issued a joint press release with Michael Gove welcoming the idea that the UK would be leaving the CFP in March 2019.
Davidson stopped short of saying that Scottish Conservative MPs should vote against the transition deal, but made it clear that support could be given for a Brexit deal if the UK regained “full control” of fishing stocks and access in the “long term” after Brexit.
She said: “Having spoken to fishing leaders today, I know they are deeply frustrated with this outcome.
“There is no ignoring the fact that this falls short of what they had hoped for in the short term.
“I’ve made clear to them that I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure their interests are protected during the implementation period and beyond.
“Any attempt by the EU to use the implementation period to weaken their hand would be a breach of the agreement.
“Over the long term, today's agreement makes clear that, from 2020, the UK will be an independent coastal state, deciding who can access our waters and on what terms.
“I am more determined than ever to ensure that this long-term prize for our fishing industry is seized.
“So I should make it clear today that I will not support a deal as we leave the EU which, over the long term, fails to deliver that full control over fish stocks and vessel access.”
The UK Brexit minister, David Davis, that the agreement on the term of the transition, which will last from March 2019 to December 2020, was “significant”.
As well as fisheries, it also secures the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU, allows the UK to sign new trade deals during the transition and ‘backstop’ measure on the Irish border.
The UK Government is expected to finalise the deal later this week.