Mr Johnson is reportedly set to announce a Brexit deal today as the EU and the UK finally reach a breakthrough just days before the end of the transition period. Some reports suggest there has been last minute haggling over fishing, but an agreement on quotas has been reached. The UK is thought to have offered a deal under which the EU’s proportion of the catch would decrease by 25 percent over the course of five and a half years. The deal will finally end chaotic talks, which saw years of frustration in withdrawal negotiations, and months of deadlock over a trade deal.
Despite the short amount of time between now and the end of the transition period, Brexiteer MPs in the Conservative Party have vowed to scrutinise the agreement with the EU.
The European Research Group (ERG), eurosceptic MPs in the Tories, said they will reconvene its so-called “star chamber” of legal experts to scrutinise the arrangement with Brussels.
This comes as other reports suggest that at least 20 members of the ERG are expected to vote down the Prime Minister’s deal.
One MP from the group warned back in November that Mr Johnson could face a rebellion if he caves in Brexit trade talks.
One source told the Telegraph: “For Brexiteers, the overwhelmingly important issue is UK sovereignty.
“If that is not preserved in the final agreement, I have no doubt we will vote against the treaty in whatever vote is called – either under CRAG (Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010) or for the final domestic implementing legislation.”
Another said: “If a large body of Tory MPs branded it BRINO (Brexit in name only) and voted against the Tory party [then] Boris is toast. They know that and so presumably will avoid it.”
Some reports suggest Mr Johnson may have conceded on fisheries, a move that would likely anger the ERG.
Joe Barnes, the Daily Express’ Brussels correspondent, reported that Mr Johnson accepted that the EU hands back 25 percent of the value of fish it catches in British waters over a five-and-a-half-year transition period.
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Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said in a statement: “If any of these offers are accurate, then in terms of percentages and length of the transition period, they are utterly derisory and totally unacceptable to the Scottish fishing fleet.
“Repatriating only 35 percent of the EU’s landings to the UK phased in over a period of several years would be a terrible deal for the fishing industry.”