Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has challenged the Prime Minister over the lack of a clear statement in the draft Brexit Deal which guarantees the UK’s departure from the Common Fisheries Policy.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The response of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation says, and I quote: ‘We have asked the Prime Minister for assurances that the establishment of a new fisheries agreement as laid out in the Brexit arrangements does not imply that EU vessels will be guaranteed continued access to our waters in return for favourable trade terms.’ Can the Prime Minister give the Federation that assurance, and if she can, can she explain why it is not in the draft deal?”
Responding, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said:
I can say to the Rt. Hon. Gentleman, we have made clear in the outline political declaration, in relation to fishing opportunities, that the UK will be an independent coastal state and that we will be ensuring that we take control of our waters. It will be the United Kingdom that will be negotiating access to United Kingdom waters.
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“Throughout this process we have been assured time and time again that UK fishermen will not be traded away in order to secure a more favourable deal for other sectors. This proposal will rightly cause concern in the industry, as there are no assurances in the draft text that our fishing industry will be protected.
“Fishing communities will well remember the betrayal of their interests by the Conservative Government in the 1970s, and they will not allow it to happen again.
“I asked the Prime Minister why, if she was happy to repeat that we would be an independent costal state, was she not happy to put that in writing in the text of the agreement. Mrs. May clearly had no credible answer to that question, so resorted to yet more meaningless platitudes.”