PHILIP Hammond has said that negotiations will have to take place following Brexit to hand back a portion of UK fishing waters back to the EU, despite control”of the waters being a key pledge of the Leave campaign.
Philip Hammond has said that the UK will hand over fishing stocks and access to its waters to EU fishing ports when the country finally leaves the bloc.
Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, the Chancellor revealed that Britain will be “an independent coastal state” before adding that “negotiating” on EU access are planned.
This week the President of the European Council Donald Tusk said “reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources should be maintained” in the latest bid to use Britain’s waters post-Brexit.
The remarks this morning show that Mr Hammond’s point of view on UK fisheries post-Brexit has not changed, despite a backlash from the fishing industry after similar remarks earlier in the week.
This morning, Peston pressed Mr Hammond on his past remarks that had prompted several Brexiteer figures to accuse him of “selling out” British fisherman.
Peston asked: “You would be open to negiogating to allow EU fisherman into our waters, aren’t you? Some colleagues are less keen on that.”
The Chancellor responded: “We will take back control of our waters. We will be an independent coastal state.
“It will be up to us to decide if we want to allow EU fisherman into our waters and on what terms.
“Clearly, our commitment is to ensure the prosperity of our costal communities in the UK, so that means the British fisherman get a better deal in the future than they have in the past.
“But, that may well involve negotiating with the EU fisherman on reciprocal access rights, and negotiating shared arrangement on the management of fishing stocks.”
The cabinet minister’s remarks today already sparked a backlash on social media.
One Twitter user said: “Reciprocal access – read bargaining chip. Expendable.”
Another tweeted: “Hammond being duplicitous over Brexit fishing rights. We have control over our fishing waters now.
“We just don’t have control over foreign vessels, permitted to fish in them.”