LABOUR AND LIB DEMS BETRAY BRITISH FISHERMEN IN CONTROVERSIAL EU VOTE

Last month Labour and Lib Dem MEPs ignored the interests of British fishermen and backed an attempt by the European Parliament to keep the UK inside the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) post-Brexit.

The proposal they supported would exclude British fish from any future trade deal with the EU unless the UK continues to apply the CFP in full. I cannot understand how any British MEP can endorse what amounts to blackmail by the European Parliament.

This report says the UK must either give up the right to exercise control over its fishing grounds or face losing EU markets for its fish. If it became policy it would cost jobs amongst our fishermen and in our coastal communities. Ministers have pledged the UK will take control of its fishing waters at the end of the implementation period in December 2020. Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands all co-operate with the EU on fisheries affairs but are not forced to be part of the CFP I have always been critical of the Common Fisheries Policy because I believe that it has failed both fishermen and fish. I have faith that, free from EU red tape and outdated systems, the UK can craft a bespoke British fishing policy that benefits everyone.

The report was politicised during its passage through the Parliament's Fisheries Committee when an amendment was inserted calling on the European Commission, "when drafting a post-Brexit agreement, to make the UK's access to the market for fishery and aquaculture products dependent on EU vessels' access to British waters and on the application of the Common Fisheries Policy."

As a so-called 'own initiative' report it is unlikely to become law but nevertheless sends a strong signal about the Parliament's view.