Brexit: Andrew Bridgen suggests possible fishing compromise
Sources close to the talks told Express.co.uk the UK was now prepared to accept between 30-35 percent of the £590million worth of fish caught by European boats for the next five years. Downing Street has consistently insisted British fishermen need to retain as much as 60 percent, with the EU only offering 25 percent, meaning the mooted 30-35 percent figure would mark a dramatic climbdown by the UK Government.
Privately Tory sources are clear any commitment on the part of the Prime Minister to such an arrangement would be vehemently opposed by the Parliamentary party, and would damage Mr Johnson’s credibility significantly.
A Number 10 spokesman said the reported compromise was “b**s”, with officials insisting significant differences remain between the two sides.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mr Johnson said the UK’s position is “unchanged”.
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He added: “There are problems. It’s vital that everyone understands that the UK has got to be able to control its own laws completely.
“And, also, that we have got to be able to control our own fisheries.
“And it remains the case that WTO terms would be more than satisfactory for the UK.
“And we can certainly cope with any difficulties that are thrown in our way.
“Not that we don’t want a deal, but WTO terms would be entirely satisfactory.
“Prosper mightily remains an extremely good description of life after January 1 either way.”
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Speaking today, David Jones, Tory MP for Clwyd West, and the deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), told Express.co.uk: “It is important that we regain control of our rich fishing grounds, which have been plundered over the years as a consequence of the Common Fisheries Policy.”
Mr Jones, whose caucus has been clear about the importance of sticking to red lines on fishing, state aid and the exclusion from the UK legal system of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), added: “There is no reason why the EU should not negotiate access with us on a yearly basis, as they do with Norway.
“The Government should insist upon just that.
“Fishing was an important industry for our country and, properly managed, our fisheries can once again support many thousands of jobs in our coastal communities.”
Former Brexit Party MEPs are particularly concerned at the prospect of Mr Johnson compromising at the last minute.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told Express.co.uk today: “I have always said that fishing would be the acid test of Brexit.
“This looks like more very bad news.”
Martin Daubney, who was also elected to the assembly last year and sat alongside Mr Farage, tweeted: “If this is true, it will be a total betrayal of our coastal communities.
“The Tories will never be forgiven.”
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