Scottish MPs threaten to vote down final Brexit deal as row over fishing rights escalates

Part of a flotilla of fishing vessels campaigning to leave the European Union sails past Parliament on the river Thames in London, Britain June 15, 2016.

caption
Part of a flotilla of fishing vessels campaigning to leave the European Union sails past Parliament on the river Thames in London, Britain June 15, 2016.
source
Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

  • UK government set to back down on fishing rights in order to secure a post-Brexit transition deal.
  • Theresa May originally wanted Britain to regain full control of its fishing waters at the beginning of transition.
  • However, the UK side is now willing to wait until the end of transition, according to reports.
  • MPs from coast communities are threatening to vote down the final Brexit deal.

LONDON -Scottish Tories have threatened to vote down a final Brexit deal as a row over fishing rights escalates.

The UK has made a number of concessions to the EU in recent days as it tries to thrash out the terms of a post-Brexit transition deal in time for the European Council summit in Brussels later this week.

It has now backed down on its demands to take back full control of UK fisheries policy during the transition phase, according to The Guardian.

The plan to take back full control of UK fisheries and regaining the right to set quotas was one of the central commitments of the Leave campaign. The reports have prompted outrage from Scottish Tory MPs, whose coastal communities are determined to regain control of fisheries on the day Britain leaves the EU.

John Lamont, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said that he would reject any final Brexit deal – which needs to be passed in the Westminster parliament – if it did not hand the UK full control of setting quotas and determining which vessels are allowed in British waters.

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson said Lamont would have her full support. That is significant because Prime Minister Theresa May has only a wafer-thin working majority of 13 in the House of Commons, and opposition from Scotland’s 13 Tory MPs could torpedo the prospect of a deal passing through parliament.

The issue of fishing rights is a highly charged subject for many Leave voters in coastal communities.

An opinion poll before the referendum suggested 92% of fishermen would vote to leave the EU, in a bid to take the UK out of the EU’s much-maligned Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The CFP sets rules for how many fish each EU country’s boats can land. Fishermen believe that its restrictions are the cause of a rapidly declining UK fleet.