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by Liz Bates
26 November 2018
David Mundell defends fishing position post-Brexit

Image credit: PA

David Mundell defends fishing position post-Brexit

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has come under criticism amid a standoff over European access to the UK’s fishing waters after Brexit.

Mundell has previously said he would not accept a Brexit deal which would disadvantage the UK’s coastal communities.

But in a critical intervention as EU leaders signed off the agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Britain could held in the deal's backstop arrangement - hated by Conservative Brexiteers - unless European fishing fleets were given full access to UK waters.

He said: "We as 27 have a clear position on fair competition, on fish, on the subject of the EU’s regulatory autonomy, and that forms part of our lines for the future relationship talks.

"It is a lever, because it is in our mutual interest to have this future relationship.

“I can’t imagine that the desire of Theresa May or her supporters is to remain for the long term in a customs union, but to define a proper future relationship which resolves this problem.

He added: "We will concentrate our efforts in order to obtain access to the British waters before the end of the transition period. And of course all of our fishermen will be protected.'

The warning prompted fresh calls for Mundell to resign over the deal, with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon calling on him to explain how he could now keep "promises made to the Scottish fishing industry".

The party’s constitutional affairs Minister Mike Russell added: "So where is the resignation, David Mundell?"

However, the Scottish Secretary defended his position last night.

He tweeted: "The Prime Minister made clear earlier today, the UK will be an independent coastal state once again, in full sovereign control of our waters, able to decide for ourselves who we allow to fish in them, with that access not tied to any other aspect of our economic partnership.

"The key point is that we are NOT leaving the EU with a deal on fisheries already in place.

"There will be a future deal on fishing to be agreed. The PM has been clear that she will defend UK fishing interests robustly in that negotiation, just as she has in the Brexit Deal."

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