‘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
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