Scottish Conservative MPs have joined English colleagues with coastal constituencies for talks with Prime Minister Theresa May following Monday’s Brexit transition deal announced in Brussels.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid led the Scottish contingent at the Downing Street meeting, and made clear the strength of feeling in fishing communities after it emerged that EU quotas will continue until December 2020.
The group sought clarity on the ‘specific safeguards’ mentioned in yesterday’s announcement for negotiations in 2019 and assurances that the UK will assume its status as an independent coastal state from December 2020.
Following the meeting, Mr Duguid and Scottish Conservative colleagues questioned DEFRA Secretary Michael Gove in the chamber on the outcome of the transition deal talks and the implications for the Scottish fishing fleet. Assurances were sought and received from the Cabinet Secretary that fishing rights would not be bartered away for a longer term trade deal.
Mr Duguid said: “We made clear to the Prime Minister our disappointment at the outcome of the talks and the length of the transition period for the fishing industry.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are committed to coming out of the EU and out of the Common Fisheries Policy.
“We asked for assurances that the ‘specific safeguards’ mentioned in Monday’s announcement will be applied for the annual negotiations in 2019.
“We must protect the rights of our fishermen during the implementation period and we must ensure full sovereignty and control over our waters from December 2020.
“At that point, we will be a fully independent coastal state and we must be able to decide who can access our waters and on what terms.
“There is no doubt yesterday was a setback, but there is still light at the end of the tunnel, and a huge prize to be won.”