Scottish Tory MPs threaten to vote down Brexit deal over fishing row

Posted On: 
22nd October 2018

Scottish Tory MPs have threatened to vote down any Brexit deal that keeps the UK tied to EU fishing rules beyond 2020, in a move that could bring down the government.

Scottish MPs want the UK to quit the Common Fisheries Policy as soon as possible
PA Images

Theresa May has mooted extending the Brexit transition period for “a matter of months” to help secure a new arrangement to protect the Irish border if negotiations break down.

But the proposal has angered Tory MPs who want to break free from the Brussels rulebook as soon as possible, including the Common Fisheries Policy.

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The CFP sets quotas for how much fish each country can take out of waters and has long been detested by fishing communities such as those in Scotland.

Moray MP Douglas Ross said the 13 Scottish Tories - whose election helped the PM cling onto power last year - would not vote for a deal that kept Britain in the CPF beyond 2020.

He told BBC Sunday Politics Scotland: "I think what's important is that we send out a very strong signal to everyone who is negotiating on behalf of the UK that this is an issue that is extremely important for our Scottish communities that we represent.”

And he added: "They will see that there is a very clear, distinct message from the Scottish Conservatives, and indeed Scotland, that we cannot have the CFP."

A spokeswoman for the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "We recognise the importance of fishing to the Scottish industry and we will continue to safeguard the interests of our vital fishing communities.

"Fisheries is devolved and the UK government is committed to respecting the devolution settlements in the upcoming Fisheries Bill."

Scottish Secretary David Mundell has already sought assurances from the Prime Minister that any extension to the Brexit transition would exclude membership of the CPF.