Scottish Tories warn Theresa May not to betray fishermen as anger grows over Brexit deal

Posted On: 
14th November 2018

Scottish Tories have warned Theresa May not to betray fishermen amid fears European trawlers could still have access to UK waters after Brexit.

A row of deck-hands gutting fish which has been pair-trawled from the North Sea between Norway and the Shetland Islands.
PA Images

In a surprise move, Scottish Secretary David Mundell hand-delievered a letter to the Prime Minister signed by all 13 Scottish Conservative MPs ahead of the crunch Cabinet meeting on her draft withdrawal agreement.

It made clear their opposition to any arrangement which could leave the UK under the auspices of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy after the post-Brexit transition period ends on 31 December, 2020.

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PoliticsHome understands that the agreement contains a "carve out" pledging to re-visit the issue of fishing in future negotiations.

The Scottish Tories are angry that that leaves open the possibility of the UK remaining in the CFP into 2021.

Their letter to Mrs May said: "You said in your conference speech that anything less would be 'a betrayal of Scotland' and we completely agree. This has raised expectations in the fishing industry that Brexit will lead to complete control and full sovereignty over domestic waters that we must deliver on.

"We could not support an agreement with the EU that would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares."

The Scottish Tory MPs are also angry at the special customs arrangements for Northern Ireland which are contained in the draft withdrawal agreement, which have already led to demands from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon for Scotland to be treated the same.

One MP said: "The anger is higher on the Northern Ireland issue because that cuts right into our unionist credentials."

Losing the support of the 13 Scottish Tories would be a hammer blow to Mrs May's hopes of getting her Brexit deal through Parliament.

The DUP and eurosceptic Conservatives have already said they will vote against it, as have some Remain-backing Tories, Labour and the SNP.