Scotland politics

Analysis: Brexit deal document fishing row

fish Image copyright PA

The Brexit deal has implications for the debate over Scottish independence and the future of fishing.

The withdrawal agreement does not let Scottish Conservatives off the hook over the fishing industry.

All 13 Scottish Tory MPs demanded exit from the common fisheries policy by 2020 and insisted "access and quota shares cannot be included" in the future economic partnership.

Both the UK and EU say they'll use "best endeavours" to conclude a new fisheries agreement by 2020 but the EU has certainly not given up on keeping its current share of the UK catch.

A statement agreed by the EU27 makes clear they will prioritise an agreement that builds on "existing reciprocal access and quota shares".

Theresa May has said she will not trade UK fishing interests for other priorities.

But President Macron of France has suggested that could make it harder for the UK to secure a new trading relationship with the EU.

The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte told me the UK and EU have a "common interest" in a deal over fisheries, not least because the UK needs access to EU markets.

In short, the fight over fishing is deferred.

The Brexit deal also brings closer the day Nicola Sturgeon must decide whether or not to push for another independence referendum.

She promised to update her preferred timetable for Indyref2 when the terms of Brexit become clearer.

She may want to see if the withdrawal deal is approved by MPs before making any announcement.

And if the deal is rejected by Parliament, Ms Sturgeon may choose to defer further to campaign for an alternative Brexit deal or no Brexit at all.

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