Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, responded to the Government’s announcement that they may extend the transitional period, by asking the Environment Secretary about the impact it would have on fishermen in the UK. The UK Government have previously committed to leaving the Common Fisheries Policy as we leave the EU, but a deal was later struck that would see the UK in the CFP until the end of the transition period.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“On the 20th March, the Secretary of State said at that dispatch box, and I quote his words: ‘in December 2020 we will be negotiating fishing opportunities as a third country and independent coastal state.’ Given the comments from the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Cabinet Office this morning about extending the transitional period, how confident is the Secretary of State now that he will be able to meet that undertaking?”
Responding, the Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP said:
Commenting, Mr. Carmichael added:
“Mr. Gove put on a brave face of confidence, but there is no evidence to suggest that his confidence is well placed. The problem for him is that the rug has been pulled from underneath his feet by the Prime Minister. I do not doubt for one second that Michael Gove was sincere when he said in March that the lifespan of this unusual and dangerous arrangement would be strictly time limited. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister does not share his level of commitment to our industry.
“Fishermen first were promised a removal from the Common Fisheries Policy on 29 March 2019. That then slipped back to the end of the transition period on the 29th December 2020. Now, despite Mr. Gove’s bluster, it looks set that the time in which our fishing industry remains part of the CFP, but with no input into the decision-making process could be even longer still.
“It is clear that the fishing industry is no priority for Mrs. May in this negotiation.”