John­son warns Brexit deal could sink fish­ing in­dus­try Blis­ter­ing at­tack on May’s plan claims EU will ‘plun­der’ Scot­land’s wa­ters

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - BY LIND­SAY RAZAQ

WEST­MIN­STER RE­PORTER

For­mer for­eign sec­re­tary and arch-Brex­i­teer Boris John­son has warned the EU will not stop un­til it has “worked out a way to plun­der the wa­ters of Scot­land for their fish”.

In an ex­clu­sive piece in to­day’s Press and Jour­nal, the Tory mav­er­ick, who wants MPs to throw out Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tues­day, ar­gues her plans hand the bloc “in­fi­nite power to bully and black­mail” the UK to “get what­ever it wants in the fu­ture ne­go­ti­a­tions”.

And he in­sists French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron will not “let Bri­tain out of jail un­til we have sat­is­fied his de­mands for UK fish”.

The dam­ag­ing com­ments come as the prime min­is­ter has sig­nalled MPs could be given the power to de­cide whether the UK en­ters the so-called back­stop ar­range­ment aimed at pre­vent­ing a hard bor­der on Ire­land un­til a per­ma­nent fu­ture re­la­tion­ship re­place­ment is agreed.

She in­di­cated par­lia­ment could be of­fered the choice be­tween that or length­en­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod, cur­rently due to end at the end of 2020, by “up to one or two years”.

The lat­ter could have im­pli­ca­tions in re­la­tion to the com­mon fish­eries pol­icy (CFP), as the EU could in­sist its rules must con­tinue to ap­ply to the UK – un­like in the back­stop op­tion – dur­ing any fur­ther ex­ten­sion.

SNP MSP Ste­wart Steven­son said the in­dus­try could end up with “pre­cisely no gains what­so­ever from Brexit, trapped in the CFP with no voice or a say in ne­go­ti­a­tions un­til 2022”.

But Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell has pre­vi­ously said he “could not sup­port” the UK be­ing bound by it be­yond the cur­rently agreed point.

And he re­peated again yes­ter­day that it re­mains the gov­ern­ment’s “res­o­lute po­si­tion” there should be no link be­tween ac­cess to wa­ters and ac­cess to mar­kets, re­ject­ing claims fish­er­men are be­ing sold out as “old fash­ioned scare­mon­ger­ing”.

In a speech he said: “The prime min­is­ter has de­fended our fish­ing in­dus­try in ne­go­ti­a­tions so far – and has pledged 100% to do so in fu­ture. We are not sell­ing out Scot­land’s fish­er­men – we are get­ting them out. Out of the hated CFP.”

Mr John­son claims the CFP will be “rein­vented” but “with the other side ef­fec­tively hold­ing all the cards”, adding: “This is not the free­dom to run our own fish­eries pol­icy. This is not what was promised to the peo­ple of this coun­try – let alone the fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties of Scot­land.”

But, hit­ting back, a Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive source said Mr John­son’s words “might carry some weight if Scot­land’s fish­er­men agreed with him”.

He added: “The Scot­tish Fish­er­men’s Fed­er­a­tion have been very clear they see the deal as a ba­sis for de­liv­er­ing the sea of op­por­tu­nity out­side the CFP.”

FORE­CAST: Boris John­son aired his views on the im­pact the Brexit deal would have on the fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties of Scot­land

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