Scottish Tory MPs raise Brexit fishing rights fears in letter to PM

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Scottish Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister to raise their concern over fishing rights post-Brexit as Theresa May looks to build support for a Brexit deal.

In the letter, the 13 MPs said they would not support an agreement with the EU which would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access and quota shares.

Mrs May had previously agreed to calls from the Scottish Conservatives to exit the Common Fisheries Policy by the end of 2020.

The letter stated: “You have made welcome statements throughout the Brexit negotiations that leaving the EU will mean leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and negotiating as an independent coastal state from December 2020.

The Tory MPs want Britain to leave the Common Fisheries Policy as part of Brexit (PA)

“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.”

The Prime Minister is holding a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday afternoon where she is seeking her senior ministers’ backing for the UK and EU’s draft agreement on exiting the EU.

The Government must then win the backing of MPs in Parliament in order to pass its Brexit plan.

Last month, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Secretary David Mundell indicated they could resign if a Brexit deal introduces different arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Ross Thomson MP, who added his signature to the letter, tweeted: “I will accept nothing less than full sovereignty over our own waters.

“That means being a fully independent coastal state, out of the Common Fisheries Policy, and like other coastal states deciding who fishes in our waters, what they fish and when they fish. All on our terms.”

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “We welcome the intervention of the Secretary of State for Scotland and his fellow MPs stating that they could not support anything less than full and effective sovereignty over UK fishing waters.

“We have been saying for two years that the only plausible way forward for the industry is for the UK to become an independent coastal state with the power to determine who catches what, where and when in our waters.

“It was this sovereignty that was so cruelly stripped from this country when we joined the EEC in 1973, betraying generations of fishermen and denying them the right to a fair living.

“There can be no link between access to our waters for EU vessels and the trade of seafood products in the EU – it contravenes all international norms and practice and is simply unacceptable in principle.

“The Prime Minister has made a series of commitments to the industry and anything less than the fulfilment of those means the Sea of Opportunity will not be realised and makes ‘no deal’ a more attractive option.”

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