Senior Brexiteer Rees-Mogg Urges May not to roll over on fishing quotas
LEADING Brexiteers have warned Theresa May not to sacrifice fishing quotas and tough immigration rules as Brexit negotiating pawns.
Senior Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg said he has “points of concern” with the PM’s ambiguous language on the UK’’s waters in her landmark EU trade deal speech on Friday.
The PM pledged to deliver “a fairer allocation” of quotas for struggling British fishermen, but also promised to “agree reciprocal access to waters” as part of her pitch for a wide-ranging deal.
Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster: “The points of concern relate to commitments around fishing.
“It’s very important that the British fishing community is protected in Brexit.
“They were very badly let down when we joined in 1973, and they shouldn’t be used as an easy negotiating offer in this round.”
The intervention by the chairman of the powerful Tory European Reform Group threaten a new Tory truce on Brexit.
It follows a Cabinet row over the totemic Brexit issue between Chancellor Philip Hammond and Environment Michael Gove last year.
Mr Rees-Mogg also flagged up potential alarm about the PM’s pledge to sign up to a series of EU watchdogs, such as on medicines, saying he also had concerns about “the details surrounding how we will subscribe to their agencies”.
Mr Rees-Mogg added: “The way the Prime Minister set it out sounded perfectly reasonable, but the devil will be in the detail as so often.”
Campaign group Migration Watch UK also warned Mrs May last night not to water down border controls, newly won by Brexit.
Downing Street admitted some elements of the nation’s new immigration system would be thrashed out in talks with the EU.
But Migration Watch’s chairman Lord Green said: “Brexit is a golden opportunity.
“A sharp reduction in EU migration must be the reddest of red lines.”
Updating MPs on her plans yesterday, the PM revealed she was looking at high tech customs arrangements between the US and Canada as a way of solving the Irish border dilemma.
But Mrs May was mocked over the comparison, with one MP telling her the US-Canada frontier has armed guards.
Chancellor Philip Hammond last night signalled Britain could enter a post-Brexit transition phase without a clear commitment from Brussels that an EU trade deal will be agreed in time for 2021.
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“One possibility, though unlikely, is that we reach an agreement on implementation then fail to reach one on a long-term agreement,” he told MPs yesterday.
He added that billions could be set aside for “contingency” planning.
Challenged whether the transition talks could continue into 2021, Mr Hammond would only say the UK has “no plans to make provision for an extension”.
Speaking to the cross-party European Scrutiny Committee, he said a transition deal was vital for businesses both in the UK and EU.
He warned airlines may have to rip up schedules for next summer unless a transition deal was thrashed out by the end of the month.
He said: “The implementation period is very much in our view in the interests of both sides. It will create certainty to allow business to plan and deal with immediately pressing issues.
“For instance airlines will need to know on April 1 whether they can safely schedule flights in April 2019.
“There are lots of practical issues that are going to be very problematic across the Continent of Europe unless we agree this implementation deal. I believe it will happen as in everyone’s interest it does happen.”
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