Brexit: "Best deal" for fishermen will involve industry leaders, MP told

David Duguid says we need to enter upon a new fisheries agreement with the EU, just like Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands
David Duguid says we need to enter upon a new fisheries agreement with the EU, just like Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands

A North East MP was given fresh assurances that the UK Government will get “the best deal” for fishermen in his constituency after Brexit.

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid, along with all 12 of his Scottish Conservative colleagues at Westminster, wrote to the Prime Minister to ensure Scottish fishermen are not bound by EU rules once the implementation period ends in 2020.

In her response, Mrs May insisted that a new fisheries agreement would be a “radical departure from the unfairness of the Common Fisheries Policy”.

During questions to the Department of Exiting the European Union (DexEU), Mr Duguid raised the importance of involving the fishing industry in negotiations.

He was told by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State that DexEU and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are “on the same page” and working with industry stakeholders.

Mr Duguid said: “When we leave the EU, we leave the Common Fisheries Policy and we become an independent coastal state.

“We therefore need to enter upon a new fisheries agreement with the EU, just like Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

“So does my honourable friend agree with me that Defra ministers and officials should, with input from stakeholders across the fisheries sector, take the lead in those negotiations?”

Mr Duguid was credited for his “relentless enthusiasm and passion” on the negotiations by Chris Heaton-Harris MP.

He replied: “I can assure him that Defra and my department are on the same page, that the government has consulted the fisheries industry throughout the negotiations (and) will continue to do so.

“It is right we continue to use the expertise inside and outside of government to get the best deal for fishermen in Banff and Buchan, Scotland and the whole United Kingdom.”

All Scottish Conservative MPs and MSPs have backed a Scottish Fishermen’s Federation call for politicians of all colours at Westminster and Holyrood to sign a pledge backing its demand that full control of UK waters be taken back from the EU.