‘Brexit deal could trig­ger EU swoop on fish­ing wa­ters’

John­son fires warn­ing that May’s agree­ment will hand bloc power to get what­ever it wants

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIND­SAY RAZAQ WEST­MIN­STER RE­PORTER

BORIS John­son to­day un­leashed a scathing at­tack on the prime min­is­ter’s Brexit deal – declar­ing the EU would not stop un­til it had “worked out a way to plun­der the wa­ters of Scot­land for their fish”.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary and arch-Brex­i­teer also warned French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron would “not let Bri­tain out of jail un­til we have sat­is­fied his de­mands for UK fish”.

And he claimed Theresa May’s plans, which he is urg­ing MPs to vote down next week, would hand the bloc “in­fi­nite power to bully and black­mail” the UK “to get what­ever it wants in the fu­ture ne­go­ti­a­tions”.

Loy­al­ists im­me­di­ately shot down the re­marks, how­ever, with Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid telling the Tory mav­er­ick he had “got this to­tally wrong” and in­sist­ing the UK gov­ern­ment would not “sim­ply roll over”.

The in­ter­ven­tion came as Mrs May sent se­nior min­is­ters to all cor­ners of the coun­try to sell her deal as Tues­day’s show­down ap­proaches.

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

“Plans hand the bloc in­fi­nite power to bully and black­mail”

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.”

Boris John­son has been forced to apol­o­gise to MPs for fail­ing to de­clare more than £52,000 in in­come af­ter the Com­mons stan­dards watch­dog sug­gested he showed an “over-ca­sual at­ti­tude” to the rules.

The for­mer for­eign sec­re­tary of­fered a “full and un­re­served” apol­ogy in a 35-sec­ond state­ment in the House of Com­mons.

The Com­mons Com­mit­tee on Stan­dards said Mr John­son broke House rules by fail­ing to reg­is­ter pay­ments within the re­quired timetable on nine oc­ca­sions.

MPs have to reg­is­ter any changes to their fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests each month, but the for­mer Cab­i­net min­is­ter’s reg­is­tra­tions were late on four sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, in­volv­ing nine pay­ments, the sleaze watch­dog found.

Kathryn Stone, par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sioner for stan­dards, said the num­ber of late reg­is­tra­tions sug­gested a “lack of at­ten­tion to the House’s re­quire­ments, rather than in­ad­ver­tent er­ror”.

But the com­mit­tee said there were no grounds for sup­pos­ing Mr John­son “in­tended to de­ceive the House or the gen­eral pub­lic about the level of his re­mu­ner­a­tion”.

The com­mit­tee con­cluded: “We rec­om­mend that Mr John­son should make an apol­ogy to the House, on a point of or­der, for this breach of the rules.

“We rec­om­mend that in that apol­ogy he should ad­dress the spe­cific com­ments we make in this re­port, and that he should un­der­take to en­sure that his fu­ture reg­is­tra­tions of re­mu­ner­a­tion are made in a timely way.

“We fur­ther rec­om­mend that the rel­e­vant pay­ments be ital­i­cised in the reg­is­ter to in­di­cate that they are late en­tries.”

The nine late reg­is­tra­tions had a to­tal value of £52,722.80, and were largely roy­al­ties or for the sale of rights on books al­ready writ­ten, Ms Stone said.

And it said Mr John­son re­sponded “promptly and help­fully” when the is­sue was raised to him, apol­o­gised to the com­mis­sioner and put in place “ef­fec­tive mea­sures to en­sure that no fur­ther breach oc­curs”.

In his ad­dress to the Com­mons, Mr John­son said: “I fully ac­cept that the de­lay was a breach of the House’s rules and, though I’m grate­ful to the com­mit­tee for recog­nis­ing that there was no in­ten­tion to mis­lead the House and that I had been com­pletely trans­par­ent, I there­fore of­fer the House a full and un­re­served apol­ogy.”

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

HOUSE RULES: Boris John­son was or­dered to apol­o­gise to MPs in the Com­mons

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