Brexit fishing deal protest to be held outside Parliament
Fishermen furious they will remain subject to EU rules during 21-month transition after the UK leaves will stage a symbolic demonstration.
Protesters are planning to dump fish in the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament in a symbolic demonstration against the Government’s Brexit transition deal.
Fishermen and many Brexiteer Tories are furious the UK will effectively remain subject to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy during the 21 month transition after Britain leaves in March 2019.
Ministers insist they have agreed “specific safeguards” with Brussels over the annual negotiations on fishing quotas in 2019.
But in the Commons on Tuesday a series of angry Tories rose to denounce the agreement hammered out between Brexit Secretary David Davis and the EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove – a leading figure in the Leave campaign – expressed his “disappointment” at the EU side’s unwillingness to move on the issue.
In a sign of Government unease about the reaction, Theresa May met MPs with fishing ports in their seats in an attempt to explain their approach.
Two Conservative backbenchers – Craig Mackinlay and Ross Thomson – are expected to join Wednesday’s Thames protest on board the fishing vessel Holladays.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the influential pro-Brexit European Research Group, will also address a press conference.
He has already strongly criticised the deal, warning Mrs May that the concessions made to Brussels will only be acceptable if they result in a “proper Brexit” when the UK finally leaves.
Meanwhile European Council president Donald Tusk has warned there is no guarantee EU leaders will accept the agreement covering the terms of Britain’s withdrawal when they meet in Brussels this week.
Mr Tusk said on Tuesday that he still needs more time to consult with “some of the most concerned member states” ahead of their two-day summit starting on Thursday.
The leaders of the remaining 27 had been expected to rubber stamp the agreement – including the transitional arrangements – finalised in the Belgian capital on Monday.
But in his letter formally inviting them to the meeting, Mr Tusk said: “Whether all 27 member states can welcome this at the European Council remains open. I still need a couple more hours to consult with some of the most concerned member states.”
Failure to to secure agreement on the terms of the UK’s withdrawal would be a bitter setback for Mrs May, casting major doubt on her goal of getting broad agreement on Britain’s future relationship with EU, including a free trade deal, by October.
Downing Street insisted they had made “very good progress” in reaching agreement with the European commission on the transition.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The European Commission has been clear, as has the European Council, that getting a deal is in the interests of not only the UK but businesses and people across the EU.”