MP for South Thanet Craig MacKinlay highlighted in Parliament that adopting all EU laws into domestic legislation with the EU Withdrawal Bill, such as the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), gives grave cause for concern over legal challenges from the EU.
FFL have highlighted this since last October and we have extreme concerns and reservations that the Bill will see laws such as the CFP continued in all but name, squandering the chance to take back control and start afresh with bespoke British policies.
Craig McKinley highlighted that Article 50 gives a clean slate and automatic repatriation of all fisheries waters and resources within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone under international law when the EU treaties “cease to apply”, avoiding any future legal challenges.
He expressed that as the UK will have adopted all EU Regulations with the Withdrawal Bill, Parliament will have re-established policy such as the CFP in all bar name.
That this could pave the way for possible legal challenges from the EU for a continuation of rights under the Vienna Convention on Treaties through a withdrawal agreement.
He asked the DexEU ministers why the government would go down such a torturous route of adopting and then trying to scrap bad EU laws such as the CFP when it would be easier to exempt them from the Withdrawal Bill.
Fishing for Leave and other Brexit groups recognise that the only way for the adopted EU laws to work in areas such as market access or customs is for there to be a mutual recognition agreement enshrined in a Withdrawal Treaty.
Fishing for Leave have highlighted to Ministers that the EU has clearly indicated that it will use the UK’s requirement for a Withdrawal agreement to allow legislative compatibility as a lever to extract concessions in areas of contentious policy such as the CFP.
For a deal on market access the EU can easily turn the screw to make this government sign away fisheries using the CFP sitting in hibernation on the UK statute book.
If the Government doesn’t exempt the CFP from this Bill then the EU could claim the CFP it is still binding and use any Withdrawal agreement and the Vienna Convention on Treaties as leverage to ensure the CFP is continued.
This would mean that instead of a clean slate afforded by Article 50 this government would have continued the CFP in all but name and squandered the chance of implementing new discard free British policy.
If the government truly intends to scrap the disastrous CFP then why run the risk of adopting it? Exempting the CFP from the Withdrawal bill would remove any legal ability or temptation to barter away Britain’s fishing industry and communities a second time.
Mr MacKinlay concluded in Parliament that “If government continues (and adopts) the disastrous CFP policy of quota allocation that puts the resource in the hands of a few, and is the cause of the completely immoral practice of discarding prime fish…. it will be impossible to achieve rejuvenation of coastal communities”
He warned Parliament “fishing is the area in which the British people demand and will not accept anything but a clean Brexit, not to be used as a trade off or for a deal elsewhere”.
“The electorate are wary of shenanigans, we can’t afford to create a failure and it’s our responsibility to make it a success to restore one of this nation’s finest treasures”.