Thursday 25th October 2018
Mike Hookem MEP, has branded Michael Gove’s attempts to enable the UK to control Britain’s fishing waters post-Brexit, as “nothing more than a pipe dream if May doesn’t get a grip of negotiations.”
Mr Hookem’s comments came after the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, introduced a bill to parliament aimed at reclaiming the UK’s fishing grounds from EU; ending automatic access for EU vessels, and creating a profitable fishing industry. However, Mr Gove plans were immediately tempered in the document by an admission that the bill, “is subject to the wider [EU exit] negotiations.”
Speaking from the European Parliament’s Strasbourg Plenary, Mr Hookem said, “the EU has made it plain since the day after the referendum that they have no intention of releasing their grip on Britain’s fishing grounds. Gove is living in cloud-cuckoo-land if he thinks this bill will change anything.”
“I can say with 100% confidence that the view of the European Parliament’s PECH (fisheries) Committee has not changed and the EU-27 fully expect continued access to Britain’s waters post-Brexit. If may does not show some backbone and get a grip of the negotiations, the EU will walk all over her on the issue of fishing."
Mr Hookem continued; “while I welcome the direction of Gove’s bill - especially in reclaiming our waters and ending automatic access for EU vessels - the Environment Secretary’s words are meaningless while the weak and feeble Theresa May continues to allow the Civil Service to run the negotiations.
“The only way this bill would have any hope of making a difference to our struggling fishing industry was to state that these are the UK's intentions, REGARDLESS of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
“By adopting the tenants of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) into British law using May’s crazy Great Repeal Bill, the Tories have sold the fishing industry down the river and sentenced British fishers to many more years of EU control.
“Most small-scale fishers I speak to doubt they will survive the transition period. As Gove’s plans can't be implemented until at least the end of the ever-extending transition period, his ideas won't be worth a damn to many small-scale fishers.
“Conservative betrayal after Conservative betrayal has marred their credibility when it comes to the fishing industry; and until Gove’s actions prove louder than words, I am not going to get too excited about anything the Tories have to say. Too much of it is nothing more than empty words."
Notes for Editors:
Gove launches Fisheries Bill to take back control of UK waters