Brexit: Amber Rudd says fisheries won't 'stop' trade negotiations
The former Home Secretary told the BBC’s Politics Live programme that fishing has an important place in trade negotiations with the European Union but it will not stop both parties agreeing on a deal. She added that a compromise where the EU has access to British waters for a number of years after Brexit will mostly be agreed upon as the UK is not ready to scale up its fishing industry.
The BBC’s Jo Coburn asked: “Should the Brexit deal live and die over fish and control of our waters?”
Ms Rudd replied: “Fish has an important place in the negotiations, a lot of people did feel that they voted for Brexit in order to have independent control of the waters.
“It became a hugely significant and symbolic part of Brexit.
“A lot of the Brexit campaign was about symbolism and sovereignty rather than the harsh reality of economics of life.
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“I do think it is going to have an important part in the negotiations, but I do not think it will stop it.”
She continued: “Ultimately, I think both sides the EU and even Macron and UK will be able to come to an agreement because it will be about some sort of compromise over a period of years.
“Quite frankly that will suit the UK because however much of our fishing waters we reclaim we are not ready to fish that amount all over again.
“So, we are going to need a period of a few years.
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“Therefore, I am confident it will not be a mechanism that will stop a deal taking place.”
The UK and EU remain in talks over a post-Brexit trade agreement.
However, the deadline for the free trade agreement to be struck is rapidly approaching.
A trade deal will need to be agreed upon before the December 31, 2020 deadline in order to be ratified by the UK and EU Parliament.
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The major sticking points throughout the final phase of the negotiations have been the EU’s insistence on a level playing field and access to British waters.
On Wednesday Boris Johnson told the House of Commons there was every chance a trade agreement could still be struck with the EU.
Mr Johnson said: “There is every opportunity that our partners across the channel will see sense and do a deal.
“The UK has a natural right like every other country to want to be able to control its own laws and fishing grounds.
“But whatever happens, in the next few days I know this country will prosper mightily on the terms we agreed, whatever they may be.”
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