Moray Conservative MP Douglas Ross has confirmed that he will vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal tonight citing concerns about its impact on fishing.
Mr Ross said the Withdrawal Agreement was ambiguous when it came to protecting Scotland’s fishing industry and suggested that EU vessels could even increase their access to UK waters.
In tonight’s vote Mr Ross will side with his fellow Brexiteer Ross Thomson, MP for Aberdeen South, over an issue that has split local Tories.
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Mr Ross said: “I can’t support the deal because of my concerns over fishing. The political declaration is very strong on fishing, but the Withdrawal Agreement doesn’t give us any guarantees. The other issue is the backstop and what that means for the Union.”
Mr Thomson, a prominent critic of the deal, also had concerns about the Northern Irish backstop arrangements.
The Aberdeen South MP said: “I know that the Prime Minister what you might say is a letter of comfort from the EU about the Northern Irish backstop, but that is still my biggest concern. Because if we find ourselves in a position whereby it comes into force then we have a border down the Irish Sea with businesses in Aberdeen having to go through new customs checks if they are sending goods to Belfast.”
Other north-east Tories – Andrew Bowie of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Colin Clark of Gordon and David Duguid of Banff and Buchan say they will support the Prime Minister.
Mr Bowie said: “I am planning on voting for the deal. I genuinely think it is a good deal. It is a deal that works for business, the economy and will have as little effect on people’s daily lives as possible whilst respecting the democratic will of the British people.”
Mr Duguid said he “totally disagreed” with those who argued that the deal was a betrayal of the fishing industry. “Neither the Withdrawal Agreement nor the Political Declaration represents a betrayal as the SNP would have us believe,” he said.
“The main reason I’m supporting this is for certainty for businesses, individuals and the country,” Mr Duguid said.
SNP MPs Ian Blackford of Ross, Skye and Lochaber; Drew Hendry of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey; Angus MacNeil of the Western Isles and Brendan O’Hara of Argyll and Bute confirmed that they and their colleagues will be voting against the deal.
As will Lib Dems Jamie Stone of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and Alistair Carmichael of Orkney and Shetland.