Both camps in the Tory leadership election race have exchanged accusations of “betrayal” as Jeremy Hunt pledged to ensure the UK left the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy by December 2020.

As both candidates prepare for their one and only live television head to head before a studio audience on ITV tomorrow night, the Foreign Secretary insisted the UK had to leave the CFP by the end of the so-called Implementation Period[IP] in December 2020.

Borders backbencher John Lamont, Mr Hunt’s campaign manager in Scotland, stressed how Boris Johnson was willing to extend the IP to 2021 but made clear keeping the UK in the CFP would be “completely unacceptable” for Scotland’s fishermen.

“Anything less than leaving the CFP by December 2020 would be a betrayal of Scotland,” declared Mr Lamont. “The Scottish Conservatives, including every one of our MPs, have signed letters to make that point clear on many occasions.

“Mr Johnson has said the IP could be extended to 2021, keeping Scotland’s waters under the control of the EU. That would be completely unacceptable for Scotland’s fishermen and at odds with the letters my Scottish Conservative MP colleagues have signed."

But a source in the Johnson camp hit back, saying: "There’s only one way to take back control of our fishing waters and that is to leave the EU on October 31.

“Any delay beyond this point means kicking the can further down the road yet again and more uncertainty for our great fishermen across the country.”

He added: “Boris Johnson is the only candidate committed to leaving the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, so we can get on with uniting our country and when the time comes defeating Jeremy Corbyn. This is the only way we avoid a betrayal of the people."

Meanwhile, Mr Mr Hunt also called on Nicola Sturgeon to U-turn and appoint a dedicated fishing minister. The Foreign Secretary stressed that he would appoint a specialist minister to fight for the interests of Scotland’s fishing communities throughout Brexit.

“I visited Peterhead on the first weekend of my campaign to listen to local fishermen’s concerns. They told me how vital it is that we leave the CFP by December 2020 with a good Brexit deal that maintains access to markets. I will not let those fishermen down,” he added.

Last week, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation called on the UK and Scottish Governments to appoint dedicated fishing ministers.

Bertie Armstrong, the federation’s Chief Executive, said: “Ministers in Whitehall and Edinburgh who can give all their time to these vital discussions will be of enormous benefit in helping to secure the best post-Brexit arrangements possible.”