New fishing offer raises hopes of Brexit deal
Fishermen could get an eleventh hour deal
Brussels and the UK were said to have be considering a new compromise on fishing last night in order to seal a Brexit deal.
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier may be willing to soften his original insistence of a 15% cut in the EU’s quota of fish in British waters, phased in over ten years after the UK offered to compromise on 35%, far short of its demand for a 60% reduction. Future disputes would be settled by independent arbitration.
The UK has demanded the EU accept a five-year transition to the new arrangement rather than seven, according to reports. The EU had initially called for 10 years to adjust whereas the UK had proposed three.
The talks are now continuing against the growing Covid crisis and a 48 hour ban on UK goods entering France.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for Mr Johnson to extend the Brexit transition period to focus on the virus, but this was rejected by Downing Street.
However, a number of MPs on the Tory benches backed the call for a delay.
Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood said: “These are far from ideal conditions to rationally determine our future prosperity and security terms. If there’s No Deal by the new year, let’s do what’s best for the UK and pause the clock.”
Simon Hoare said it was time to “stop the clock, temporarily”, adding: “There is no Parliamentary time to scrutinise and agree a deal and the clarity of the dangers to our already pressured economy of No Deal is alarming.”
However, Labour leader,Sir Keir Starmer, declined on Monday to back a possible extension, saying only that he wanted Johnson to deliver a deal this week.
“I don’t want an extension. I want the deal. The prime minister said he had an oven ready deal … I say to the prime minister, Get on and deliver the deal you promised,” he said.