Boris Johnson: My Xmas present would be control over British waters

BORIS JOHNSON replied ‘hundreds of thousands of tons of fish’ when asked what he might give the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon for Christmas.

The prime minister joked about the UK regaining control of fishing waters — a sticking point in last-ditch Brexit trade talks with the EU — at a Downing Street news conference last night.

He told reporters: ‘As for a present for Nicola, there’s all sorts of things that will arise naturally from the UK getting a new relationship with our friends in the European Union.

‘But one thing of particular interest to the people of Scotland is that they will become the proud possessors of hundreds of thousands of tons of fish, shellfish, crustaceans.

‘I don’t know if Nicola is a keen fish eater but she will have more than she could possibly consume herself for a very, very long time to come.’

Mr Johnson also insisted there was ‘a good deal’ to be sealed with the EU, despite time running low before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.

He told the conference: ‘Where we get to with the EU — well, again, that is very much a matter for our friends. They know what the parameters are. We’ve just got to make sure that we control our own laws, and control our own waters, and there’s a good deal there to be done, but if not, WTO/Australia terms it is.’

Reports last night suggested a breakthrough in talks, with a deal with the EU being neared — but government sources downplayed the claims.

The House of Commons will rise for the Christmas recess this week, but No.10 said MPs could be recalled early to vote on any deal.

Meanwhile, Brussels chief Ursula von der Leyen has said there is still a ‘path’ to a post-Brexit agreement — but the route is ‘very narrow’.

The European Commission president said a resolution to arguments over fishing may prove impossible, but progress has been made on ‘level playing field’ measures. She added: ‘The next days are going to be decisive.’

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