Brexit trade deal under scrutiny as Boris Johnson insists it’s the ‘right deal’ for the UK

Following the full release of the document, a number of politicians and organisations expressed concerns over the terms that had been reached.

Nicola Sturgeon accused the Government of “selling out” Scottish fishing with the Brexit deal.

Writing on Twitter, the Scottish First Minister said: “The fact that many predicted it, doesn’t make it any less galling.

“The Tories have sold out Scottish fishing all over again. Promises they knew couldn’t be delivered, duly broken.”

The draft agreement asserts the “sovereign rights” of EU states and the UK “for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the living resources in their waters”.

However, it also includes a line on “the social and economic benefits of a further period of stability, during which fishers would be permitted until June 30 2026 to continue to enter the waters of the other party”.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations (NFFO) said the Prime Minister had “bottled it” over fishing rights as his Brexit deal has secured “a fraction of what the UK has a right to under international law”.

“When push came to shove, despite the legal, moral and political strength of our case, fishing was sacrificed for other national objectives,” said Mr Deas.

“Lacking legal, moral, or political negotiating leverage on fish, the EU made the whole trade deal contingent on a UK surrender on fisheries.

“In the end-game, the Prime Minister made the call and caved in on fish, despite the rhetoric and assurances that he would not do what Ted Heath did in 1973.”

Former PMs and leaders react to Brexit deal

He added that although the deal “will inevitably be seen by the fishing industry as a defeat”, negotiations have been successful in “having fought off EU’s attempts to tie the UK back into CFP (Common Fisheries Policy)-like arrangements”, which will allow the UK to “develop and apply its own fisheries management systems, tailored to its own fisheries”.

Mr Deas said prior to the agreement, the EU “benefited disproportionately from free access to fish in UK waters and unbalanced quota shares agreed in 1983”, adding that fishermen are awaiting publication of “detailed stock by stock schedules agreed” to find out what this means for their businesses.

In WhatsApp messages to Tory MPs, the Prime Minister reportedly acknowledged “the devil is in the detail” but insisted it would stand up to inspection from the European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers, who will assemble a panel of lawyers to examine the 1,246-page text.

“I truly believe this is the right deal for the UK and the EU,” Mr Johnson reportedly told the MPs.

A senior member of the UK’s negotiating team defended the fishing compromise set out in the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU after coming under criticism.

The official said: “Fisheries was one of the areas where we had to compromise somewhat. Both sides have had to. But the crucial thing on fisheries policy is that although there is a transition, at the end of the transition it returns to normal arrangements and we have full control over our waters.

“There’s a transition to that point and ideally we would’ve got out of it a bit faster but where we’ve got to is acceptable and offers gains for the fisheries industry in the short run and a huge right to control everything and work within that after this five-and-a-half-year transition.”

Sir John Redwood, a Eurosceptic Tory MP, urged Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove to flesh out further details on the agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

He tweeted: “Will Michael Gove publish the details of his agreement on the Northern Ireland issues? We need a detailed text to see how he thinks it is going to work.”

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey indicated the party is likely to vote against the Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

He told BBC Breakfast: “If the details turn out to be what we’re hearing, we cannot support it. This will be so bad for British business, so bad for families to mean they’re less safe. How can a responsible party support such a bad deal?”

Sir Ed said there will be “lots of red tape” as a result of the treaty and warned law enforcement will face a blow from slower information sharing.

“British families will be less safe as a result of this deal. The criminals will be cheering as a result of this deal – that’s not acceptable,” he added.

Additional reporting by PA Media.


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