Today’s daily politics briefing
Nicola Sturgeon has slammed a “Brexit betrayal of fishing” after talks collapse over access to Norwegian seas, sparking anger.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also said fishing communities had been “betrayed by the prime minister” after the talks broke down earlier this week.
The failure to reach a deal means fish and chip shops will be selling Arctic cod imported from Norway rather than landed in Britain, UK Fisheries said.
Meanwhile, Conservative Party staff have been told they have one week to hand over all communication related to renovations of Boris Johnson’s flat in 11 Downing Street or face criminal consequences, according to reports.
The Times and The Sun reported all Conservative Party staff received an email from human resources about the Electoral Commission’s inquiry into how the redecoration work was funded, which told them: “You are put on notice that this is a criminal investigation.”
Campaign group “Save British Farming” – which has opposed government plans to weaken food standards after Brexit – has likened the government’s treatment of the fishing industry to its approach to farming.
“I wonder if George Eustice [minister for environment, food and rural affairs] will apologise to us farmers for promising that Brexit would ensure a golden era for farming when in fact it means fArmageddon?
Peter Stubley1 May 2021 14:13
PM ‘killing off’ Hull fishing industry, says MP
Hull MP Karl Turner says that Boris Johnson has “killed off” the local fishing industry for good with the government’s failure to negotiate a deal with Norway.
“Our people from Hull have had difficult careers fishing off the subarctic sea for hundreds of years. Kids left school and joined ships, some became skippers. Many brought families up off the back of it. It was dangerous graft and we lost too many,” he tweeted.
“We remain enormously proud of all of them. They are our history and heritage. The industry has suffered over the years and it barely survived. And now we have Boris Johnson killing it off for good. Sad times.”
Meanwhile former Brexit MEP June Mummery – who had claimed that the industry would benefit from the UK leaving the EU – has renewed her attack on Boris Johnson’s “betrayal”.
“He lied to the fishing industry and coastal communities when he repeatedly said we would take back control of our waters and the resource,” she added.
Peter Stubley1 May 2021 13:34
May Day Extinction Rebellion protests
Meanwhile Extinction Rebellion have organised a series of individual protests across the UK to mark two years since the UK declared a climate emergency.
“In multiple courageous acts of nonviolent civil disobedience, people are sitting alone in the face of oncoming traffic in towns and cities around the UK – including Scarborough, Weymouth, Birmingham, Oxford, Ipswich, Lincoln, Canterbury, Newcastle, Portishead, London, Newquay, Swansea, Bangor in Northern Ireland and many more”, the group said.
Peter Stubley1 May 2021 13:14
Kill the Bill protest gets underway
Protesters have been gathering in London’s Trafalgar Square for the latest “Kill The Bill” demonstration since 12pm.
The various groups involved include Sisters Uncut, CND, Stand up to Racism, the Socialist Workers Party and Disabled People Against Cuts.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill is a 300-page piece of proposed legislation that aims to provide the police with more power, including imposing restrictions on protests and making it an offence to “intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance”.
Peter Stubley1 May 2021 12:57
Donaldson set to enter leadership race
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who is Northern Ireland’s longest serving current MP, is “highly likely” to enter the race for the DUP leadership, according to reports.
The PA news agency said it had been told that Sir Jeffrey had more endorsements from MPs and MLAs than the existing frontrunner Edwin Poots.
“He has very strong support from the parliamentary team,” a source said.
Donaldson, a former member of the Ulster Unionists, was one of the most outspoken critics of David Trimble during the peace process.
Peter Stubley1 May 2021 12:44
The government has been hit with criticism over its failure to strike a post-Brexit fishing deal with Norway – including from Nicola Sturgeon, who blased it as a “betrayal”.
One person who has spoken out is the boss of the UK’s last distant waters fishing business, who said no deal was “absolutely disastrous” and the environment secretary owed the industry an explanation as jobs have been “sacrificed”.
Emily Goddard has the full story:
‘Hundreds of crew members without work’ after talks collapse
Zoe Tidman1 May 2021 12:10
Independent Scotland should pay no UK debt – Salmond
In other news, Alex Salmond has told a newspaper Scotland should go for a “clean break” over debt with the UK during any independence talks.
The former first minister said the position of Alba – his new political party – was for the country to pay no share of national debt after separation from the union.
Additional reporting by PA
Zoe Tidman1 May 2021 11:49
What were the fishing talks about?
The breakdown in post-Brexit fishing talks – which has been slammed as a “betrayal” – involved access to Norwegian seas.
Britain was forced by Brexit to renegotiate its access deal with Oslo, which had previously been guaranteed by an EU-Norway agreement as part of the Commons Fisheries Policy.
The collapse of talks on Thursday means British vessels have no rights to fish in Norwegian sub-Arctic waters in 2021.
Hundreds of fishermen and support staff face being left without work and fish and chip shops across Britain will be selling Arctic cod imported from Norway rather than landed by UK ships.
Andrew Woodcock and Emily Goddard have more information:
Exclusion from Norwegian seas could be ‘nail in coffin’ for distant-water fleet
Zoe Tidman1 May 2021 11:24
‘Hundreds of crewmen have no work
Here is a reminder of what UK Fisheries said earlier this week, after the collapse of the Brexit fishing talks:
“The UK government has failed to land a fishing access deal with Norway that would have allowed the British distant-waters fleet to keep working.
“Consequently the UK has no rights to fish in Norwegian sub-Arctic waters in 2021 and hundreds of crewmen have no work.”
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Zoe Tidman1 May 2021 11:01
Boris Johnson ratings drop in poll on who would make best PM
A new poll by Survation suggests Boris Johnson’s popularity has fallen in recent weeks – which has seen the flat controversy, as well as one over text exchanges with James Dyson.
However, he was still put above Sir Keir Starmer by respondents asked who would make the best prime minister.
Zoe Tidman1 May 2021 10:20