Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed a “clear and resolute” stance from the Prime Minister in a letter to Scottish Conservative MPs on fishing and Brexit.
The group of 13 Scottish Tory MPs penned a joint letter to Theresa May a fortnight ago seeking assurances on the future of the sector after the UK leaves the EU.
In her response, the PM has confirmed that the UK will become an independent coastal state when it leaves the EU with “full control over our waters”.
Mrs May also states that the UK intends to conclude a Fisheries Agreement with the EU by July 1, 2020.
However, the letter adds: “It has always been the EU’s position that there should be a link between access to waters and access to markets…..It remains our resolute position that there should be no such link.”
The Prime Minister also points out that if no agreement is reached by the end of the implementation period in December 2020, then “no EU country’s fishing fleet will have access to UK waters”.
Mr Duguid welcomed the move on a day that he also signed the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation pledge on exiting the Common Fisheries Policy assuming sovereign control over our waters and resisting any arrangement to prevent the UK negotiating on access and quotas from December 2020 onwards.
Mr Duguid said: “Along with my Scottish Conservative colleagues, I have sought assurances on what the EU withdrawal agreement and political declaration will mean for our fishing industry.
“I have been a consistent voice for the fishing sector since my election 18 months ago and I have said time and again that this government must deliver for our coastal communities.
“I have received repeated assurances from the Prime Minister at the despatch box and I am very pleased to hear the Prime Minister take such a clear and resolute stance on this issue – in writing.
“There are remaining EU member states with significant fishing interests who will continue in their attempts and make the link between access to waters and trade.
“The UK side has already stopped any such guarantee being written into the withdrawal agreement and political declaration.
“We should back the PM on this, and move on to the next stage – negotiating a future relationship with the EU and a Fisheries Agreement on our terms.
“It is clear that a failure to do so by December 2020, despite the threats from Emmanuel Macron and others, will leave EU boats locked out of UK waters.”