The “rambling” Prime Minister needs to give greater clarity on what the fishing industry can expect after Brexit, according to isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
He challenged Theresa May in Parliament but said that in her response she refused to guarantee that fishing rights would not be traded away for other sectors, only saying that it would be “part of the negotiations”.
Mr Carmichael said: “If we are to leave the Common Fisheries Policy in 2019, and if we are not then going to trade away access to UK waters for non-UK fishing vessels, then as far as fishing is concerned, what else is there left to talk about?”
Mrs May replied: “I say to the right honourable gentleman, we will be leaving the CommonFisheries Policy on 29th March 2019 and the CAP [common agricultural policy] as I indicated. The arrangements that pertain to fisheries during that implementation period will of course be part of the negotiation for that implementation period.
“Leaving the CFP and leaving the CAP gives us the opportunity, post that implementation period, to actually introduce arrangements that work for the United Kingdom, and that is what my right honourable friend the environment secretary is discussing with the fishing and agricultural industries about what those arrangements for the future should be.”
After the exchange Mr Carmichael said: “All the Prime Minister had to say was that access to UK waters would not be traded off against any other deal. She was asked a very simple question and gave a long rambling answer.
“In the 1970s the then Conservative government regarded our fishing industry as being ‘expendable.’ It looks increasingly as if very little has changed in the succeeding 40 years.”