We Will Be Able To Negotiate Access To Our Waters

What a strange claim for the Prime Minister of the UK to make. “Our deal means we become an independent costal state”, but now read on, Prime Ministers’ Questions Wednesday 28 November.

Q4. Douglas Ross  (Moray) (Con): As the PrimeMinister heads to Scotland, what guarantees can she give to those who have concerns about the future of the fishing industry under this deal, and also our precious Union?

The Prime Minister : My hon. Friend is absolutely right to raise the issue of the fishing industry and our precious Union. I am a committed Unionist, as he is, and as indeed are all my colleagues on the Conservative Benches. Our deal in relation to fisheries means that we will become an independent coastal state. That means that we will be able to negotiate access to our waters. We will be ensuring that our fishing communities get a fairer share of our waters. We will be determining that issue of access to our waters, and we firmly rejected a link of access to our waters and access to markets. I have to say also that we are very clear, as I made clear in my statement on Monday, that we will not be trading off a fisheries agreement against anything else in this future relationship; and I am confident that my hon. Friend will have seen the support for the deal, which has been recognised by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation”.

Odd, that she did not mention the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations , do they support it? “Whatever their other differences, there is cross-party consensus that the UK fishing industry has been appallingly treated by the Common Fisheries Policy, and that leaving the EU opens the prospect of doing something different – the one area in which the UK has an unambiguously strong hand to play. The fishing issue will not diminish in significance whilst these political dynamics are in play and whilst the UK fishing industry and its allies seek justice”.

So, as readers might imagine, the Prime Minister seems to have sold out the UK fishing industry to perpetuate what the wretched Edward Heath did to buy our entry into what we thought was a common market. “A fairer share of our waters” means little compared with the intention of the French. “The European Council will demonstrate particular vigilance as regards safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens, the necessity to maintain ambitious level playing field conditions, and to protect fishing enterprises and coastal communities. Several EU leaders highlighted fishing as a particularly sensitive issue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said talks on fisheries were “undoubtedly going to be an area where negotiations are going to be tough”, and the bluntest warning came from French President Macron, who suggested that if the UK was unwilling to compromise in negotiations on fishing, which would need to make rapid progress, then talks on a wider trade deal would be slow. “We as 27 have a clear position on fair competition, on fish, and on the subject of the EU’s regulatory autonomy, and that forms part of our position for the future relationship talks” he said.

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