The Prime Minister has warned it is now time to prepare for a no-trade deal Brexit unless the EU fundamentally changes its stance, bluntly telling Brussels there is little point in holding further talks. Mr Johnson said: “I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade. With high hearts and with complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative and we will prosper mightily as an independent free trading nation, controlling and setting our own laws.”
Fisheries has proven to be a major stumbling block since talks opened between the two sides nearly four years ago, with former Prime Minister Theresa May and now Mr Johnson both under pressure to strike a deal that would satisfy the fishing community after Brexit.
Britain wants fishing quotas to be renegotiated in an annual basis, but the EU has argued this would make it impossible for the industry to make investment decisions.
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, accused both Mrs May and Mr Johnson of breaking promises to the fishing industry by not including it in the Withdrawal Agreement, and leaving it to be dealt as part of the Political Declaration.
He also accused both of not having the “political will to hold out for it in the Withdrawal Agreement”, warning the political consequences of betraying the fishing industry will be “pretty severe”.
Mr Carmichael told Express.co.uk: “The fishing industry has been promised a lot from Brexit and the people who were the most enthusiastic and campaigning for Brexit, are now the ones who are responsible for delivering on the promises they made.
“If first Theresa May and then Boris Johnson had included fishing in the Withdrawal Agreement, rather than leaving it to be dealt with as part of the Political Declaration, then we wouldn’t find ourselves in this difficult situation. That was what was promised in the first place.
“Given the high importance of fishing to my community and given the importance the industry attaches to the promises they were made, I hope they have the political will to hold out, because the political consequences for any party that betrays the fishing industry now will be pretty severe.”
When asked if an unnecessary mess had been created by not including fisheries in the Withdrawal Agreement and only the Political Declaration from the start, Mr Carmichael replied: “Absolutely!
Mr Carmichael also accused the Tory Government of a “straightforward breach of a promise that was made to the industry” by leaving fisheries out of the Withdrawal Agreement.
He warned they will have to deliver on their promises to the industry, or face a “whirlwind”.
The Lib Dem MP for Orkney and Shetland continued: “The decision to leave the fisheries policy out of the Withdrawal Agreement was a straightforward breach of a promise that was made to the industry.
“Having broken their promises, they are now trying to scramble to find a way to make good on it.
“The jury is out on them – the importance to fishing in these negotiations is such that they are never going to bury this as an issue.
“They either have to deliver on their promises or backtrack and if they do the latter, they will face a whirlwind.”
Published at Fri, 16 Oct 2020 21:00:00 +0000