Fisheries minister didn't read Brexit bill because she was busy with nativity
Just one regular day of Tories. It's all we ask. Will never happen
Fish. Fish. Fish. Fish. Fish... fish. Pardon the repetition, but I'm trying to give you an indication - if you weren't already aware - of how the conversation surrounding Brexit has been over the past few years.
Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, any Brexiteer you can imagine - each of them has used the sovereignty of British waters as a reason to push for and get behind Brexit.
'Things may get bad, but we will have control of our own waters' - if you were a fisherman worried about your business, this sort of language would have been a sea shanty to your ears.
Then Brexit happened, and unbelievably, very few of the wonderful and transformative effects Brexiteers said Brexit would have on the fishing industry have come to pass.
Admittedly, we are less than a month in. But already things are looking bad, with one Scottish exporter admitting that seafood prices had dropped by 80 percent due to "export blockages".
But on Wednesday, insult was added to injury when the fisheries minister Victoria Prentis spoke to the Lords EU environment subcommittee, and admitted that she had not read the post-Brexit deal which so greatly effects the fisheries she overseas.
Overly honest moment of the day: Defra minister Victoria Prentis admitted she was too busy "organising the local nativity trail" to read the fisheries agreement in the Brexit deal when it was published on Christmas Eve pic.twitter.com/SM4AjgHoCD
— Alain Tolhurst (@Alain_Tolhurst) January 13, 2021
When asked if her jaw had dropped when she read the deal, she replied: “No, the agreement came when we were all very busy on Christmas Eve, in my case organising the local nativity trail.
“We had been waiting and waiting, it looked like it was coming for probably four days before it actually arrived.
“I, for one, had gone through, as I’m sure members of this committee had, a gamut of emotions over those four days.”
Delays on exports have caused anguish among those in the fishing industry, and Prentis' admission has led to calls from the SNP for her resignation.
The village #nativity looked a little different from usual but it was so lovely to stick to our Christmas Eve tradition and come together on our nativity trail #christmas #Christmas2020 #MerryChristmas pic.twitter.com/2j5HO8d8tW
— Victoria Prentis (@VictoriaPrentis) December 24, 2020
The SNP’s Brexit spokesperson, Philippa Whitford, said: “Due to Brexit-induced bureaucracy, Scotland’s fishing communities are already experiencing severe disruption and cannot get their produce to their customers in the EU market on time.
“For the Tory government’s fisheries minister to then admit that she did not even bother to read the details of the damaging deal because she was too busy is unbelievable and makes her position untenable.”
Despite the calls for her to resign, Boris Johnson has backed Prentis.