Theresa May's transition assurance is political theater to negate Scots Tory MPs' efforts

Theresa May's transition assurance is political theater to negate Scots Tory MPs' efforts

by Aaron Brown
article from Monday 5, November, 2018

FOLLOWING WELCOME PRESSURE by Conservative MPs, in unison with Scottish Secretary David Mundell, Theresa May has been forced to state the UK will not accept an extended transition for the fishing industry.

The Transition period means the UK will officially leave the EU on the 29th of March next year but will instantly re-obey all EU laws post Brexit. This includes the hated Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that allows EU vessels to catch 60 per cent of the fish in British waters.

When the government breached its red line that fishing wouldn’t be in any transition at all, the industry reacted furiously and Fishing for Leave organised nationwide port demonstrations.

Any transition is an “abject sell out”, as although Britain will officially ‘leave’ the EU and become an independent coastal state, we will hand all waters and resources straight back to EU control.

Many Leave campaigns worry the transition will never end and Fishing for Leave has warned incessantly the EU could use international treaty law under  the Vienna Convention to tie Britain in knots to make sure we never escape.

This was given weight by the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who highlighted to Cabinet that the withdrawal and transition agreement would have to be underwritten by an internationally binding treaty, making it hard to row back from or amend – as some MPs hoped.

The transition negates automatically repatriating a £6-8bn industry which we can manage more sustainably for coastal communities”

The problem is any Transition  – not the length it is. 

The efforts of Mr Mundell (pictured) and the pressure by Scots MPs are therefore welcome in highlighting the issue, but totally miss the point. Any Transition means full obedience to any detrimental laws the EU forces upon us to cull what’s left of the British fleet. The EU has every reason to do this as under international fisheries law, UNCLOS Article 62.2, if a nation doesn’t have the fleet capacity to catch all its own resources it must give the ‘surplus’ to its neighbour.

Furthermore, the statement by Mrs May on her apparent concession is nothing more than political theatre to negate Scots Tory MP's effort. The transition agreement says the UK must obey the whole acquis. This makes a nonsense of the idea that the UK can opt-out of certain policies at certain points of the transition.

As David Cameron’s negotiation and Theresa May’s Brexit strategy have made clear you are either a member of the club or you are not – you cannot be half in our half out. There can never be – and Brussels will never accept – cherry-picking that undermines the project’s integrity.

The Conservatives first said that fishing wouldn’t be in a Transition at all. How can we believe a word they say and they won’t cave in again to EU demands? That Brussels will play hardball to keep Britain in the CFP is vindicated by the fact that the EU demands access to British waters in return for a Canada-Plus deal.

The News that Brussels demands this is no surprise given EU negotiation guidelines have always read: “In the overall context of the FTA, existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained.”

Our government has declared and assured in the Fisheries Bill that access to waters and trade will not be bartered. This doesn’t happen anywhere else and must not happen here.

If Conservatives don’t have a sense of electoral self-preservation and do capitulate then they will be filleted and gutted in coastal constituencies and others nationwide where fishing is seen as an ‘acid test’.

The only way to guarantee we regain our fishing and avoid the EU annihilating it during a Transition of any length is to walk away, chucking Chequers AND the Transition.

No Deal is better than what is becoming a Ransom deal.

 

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