Brexit "betrayal": EU-UK trade deal could cost Cornish Conservatives dearly at the ballot box

Boris Johnson's trade deal with the EU, and what is widely considered a betrayal of the UK fishing industry, could cost the Conservative Party its traditionally strong Cornish vote.

The agreement gives British boats a greater share of fish that can be caught in UK waters, but also allows European boats to fish in those waters until 2026 at the earliest, with many in the industry fearing the arrangement may even be permenant. Border hold-ups and requirements to purify shellfish before export to the EU have also led to huge, and expensive, problems for the industry.

In the last two general elections the Conservatives have taken all seven Cornish seats. Traditionally, the Liberal Democrats have mounted significant challenges, and UKIP have performed strongly in the European elections, although the latter is now defunct.

It’s a complete sellout. It’s a betrayal. The deal we have got is lose-lose. We have got friction at the borders and they [EU fishing boats] have still got access to our waters. I can’t vote Conservative... They lied to us. They used us to get Brexit.

Cornish fisherman Brackan Pearce, in The Guardian (April 25th)

The first major test for the Tories in Cornwall will come in council elections next month. Although theirs is the largest single group in the council chamber – Cornwall has a unitary authority for the whole county – the Liberal Democrats regained control by forming a coalition with independent councillors in 2017.

Historically, the Labour Party has little weight in Cornish politics, and their campaign so far could best be described as "lack-lustre".

Image: By Mick Knapton - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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