Boris Johnson said the Scotland’s First Minister will have more fish than she could possibly consume when asked what he will give her for Christmas.
The Prime Minister referenced negotiations between the UK and the EU on fishing rights as part of attempts to strike a post-Brexit trade deal when questioned at a Downing Street press conference.
He said: “As for a present for Nicola, well, 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 that may be of particular interest to the people of Scotland is that they will become the proud possessors of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fish, shellfish, crustaceans.
“I don’t know whether Nicola’s a keen fish eater but she’ll have more than she could possibly consume herself for a very, very long time. So how about that, will that do?”
Earlier, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said fishing rights are one of the main sticking points on agreeing a post-Brexit trade deal.
She said progress has been made and there is a “path” to an agreement, but it may be impossible to resolve the difficulties on fishing.
The EU wants to continue to maximise access to UK waters for its fishing fleets after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
The UK Government argues the UK is now an independent coastal state and should be able to prioritise its own boats.
However, most fish caught by UK fishermen are sold in Europe, which requires access to EU markets.
Downing Street said “some progress” had been made, but the “most likely outcome” remained a no-deal scenario.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: “No amount of Boris Johnson bluster can hide the fact he is lining up a sell-out of Scotland’s fishing sector.
“Any Brexit deal is likely to fall far short of what the Tories promised – while a no-deal would be utterly devastating to our wider seafood industry, placing tariff and other barriers in the path of some of our most valuable exports.”