Theresa May will today vow to stand firm in defending Scottish fishermen as she continues her Brexit tour of the UK to rally support for her deal.
The prime minister, who will speak to employers and factory workers during a visit to Glasgow, said she had been robust in her support of the industry and would “always be so”.
Her trip came as the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation called on politicians of all colours at Westminster and Holyrood to sign a pledge backing its demand that full control of UK waters be taken back from the EU.
Meanwhile, there was more tough talk from across the Channel with João Aguiar Machado, director general at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, reiterating its position that any future agreement on fish would be “built upon existing access to waters and existing quota shares”.
Mrs May, who visited Wales and Northern Ireland yesterday, will claim her deal protects jobs and enables an “unprecedented economic relationship” with the opportunity to strike trade agreements around the world.
She will add: “Crucially, the deal also ensures that we will leave EU programmes that do not work in our interests.
“So we will be out of the common agricultural policy, which has failed our farmers, and out of the common fisheries policy (CFP), which has so tragically failed Scotland’s coastal communities.
“At long last, we will be an independent coastal state again – taking back full sovereign control over our waters, and free to decide for ourselves who we allow to fish in our waters.
“The EU maintained throughout the negotiation process that it wanted to link overall access to markets to access to fisheries. It failed in the withdrawal agreement and it failed again in the political declaration.
“I have been robust in defending the interests of Scottish fisherman so far – and I will always be so.”
The SFF pledge asks those signing to uphold the UK’s right to exercise complete sovereignty over its waters and vote against any arrangements that would extend CFP membership beyond December 2020, take the UK back in after that date or prevent the UK from negotiating access and quota shares as a fully independent coastal state from then on.
Chief executive Bertie Armstrong insisted anything other than “full, unfettered sovereignty over our own waters would be crossing a red line for the fishing industry”.
He said that despite the “stated wishes of French President Emmanuel Macron”, access and quotas had to be negotiated annually, not “carved up in advance”.
Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee yesterday, Mr Machado confirmed agreement on fisheries would be a “matter of priority for the union” and that during transition, the status quo would be maintained.
He said: “During transition, the existing access and quota shares remain unchanged and the CFP continues to apply to the UK. Quotas for 2020 will be decided by the EU27 and the UK will be consulted.
“In international negotiations, the commission will negotiate on behalf of the EU27 plus the UK.”
Liberal Democrat former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael said the prime minister’s “concession” that the UK would remain in the CFP during transition had “left the door open to the EU on this”.
And Tory Brexiteer Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson warned against the emergence of “the son of the CFP”.
His Scottish Conservative colleague, David Duguid, who represents Banff and Buchan, accused the EU of “playing to their own galleries”, but said the UK must “stand firm” in the “battle ahead”.