Sir John Redwood has called for the government to “take back control of our seas”.
In a post on his blog, the Tory grandee encourages Downing Street to stop viewing our fishing heritage as a bargaining chip, but a rich resource that can create a new generation of jobs. If new employment comes at the expense of the French, Dutch and Spanish fishermen, so be it, they are our waters.
“Unrelenting Remain supporters tell us as the fishing industry is so small, we should make concessions to secure other unspecified advantages in a general agreement,” writes Sir John. “If the industry is as unimportant as they say it is to us, why would the EU be so keen to win concessions on it?”
Redwood’s call for an expansion in UK fishing is seen as a response to increasing speculation the Government is going to backslide over fisheries, the Tories having promised a complete exit from the hated Common Fisheries Policy in their 2019 manifesto.
To the frustration of UK fishing, the position has evolved to a zonal approach under which EU boats would retain some level of access to British waters. More recently, media speculation has picked over the possibility Boris Johnson will keep the UK in the CFP for another year or a major compromise is on the table.
However, more recently it’s been reported that the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier has organised an emergency meeting with all of the EU’s member states to get them to agree to lower their demands.
Redwood’s vision still looks possible, forgive us if we’re not 100% confident.