Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson blasts David Davis over Brexit fishing deal ‘disappointment’

Posted On: 
19th March 2018

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has described the Brexit transition as an "undoubted disappointment" after David Davis was accused of betrayal by fishermen.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has criticised the latest Brexit agreement on fishing

The Brexit Secretary admitted that Brussels will only be required to “consult” the UK ahead of fishing negotiations during the implementation period, which is due to last until 31 December, 2020.

He also admitted that it would only be after the transition period that the UK would be free to negotiate "new fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state".

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The agreement seemed to contradict an earlier pledge by Theresa May that Britain will come out of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy as soon as it leaves the bloc on 29 March, 2019.

Mr Davis insisted the terms pf the deal would protect "the interests of the United Kingdom fishing community", but Ms Davidson led the criticism by his Tory colleagues. 

She said: “During these negotiations, we wanted to gain control over our waters from as early as the end of next year.

"The EU was not willing to move on this. That we now have to wait until 2020 to assume full control is an undoubted disappointment.

"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."

Conservative MP and leading Brexiteer Bernard Jenkin told the BBC: “We can’t have the EU setting EU quotas for our fish and treating our territorial waters as their waters, as they do now, through the implementation period.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the Brexit deal was “shaping up to be a massive sellout of the Scottish fishing industry by the Tories”.

This row follows Scottish Conservative MP John Lamont’s shock declaration last night that he would vote down a final Brexit deal that did not return full control of Britain's fishing waters. 

Responsing to the transition deal, Mr Lamont said: "This implementation agreement in no way matches what I hoped to achieve from this process. It will mean our fishing waters continue to be controlled by Brussels for much longer than expected.

"I have supported the fishing industry’s demands that we take back control of our fishing waters at the earliest available opportunity.

"Brexit is a huge opportunity for our fishing communities including those in my constituency. After the implementation period is over, full control over our waters must come back to the United Kingdom from Brussels.

"Anything less will be a betrayal of our fishing communities who voted for Brexit in large numbers.”


Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: "This falls far short of an acceptable deal. We will leave the EU and leave the CFP, but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later. Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the EU for another two years.

"Put simply, we do not trust them to look after us. So we issue this warning to the EU: be careful what you do or the consequences later will be severe. To our politicians we say this: some have tried to secure a better deal but our governments have let us down."