Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, has today reminded the Prime Minister that regaining control of our fishing waters after Brexit is of “paramount importance to the country.”
As the European Withdrawal Act goes through its final stages in Parliament this week, Drax has pointed out that Owen Patterson, former Fisheries Minister, asked the Prime Minister to confirm that Britain’s fisheries would be brought back under the UK’s control during an earlier debate on the Bill’s passage (December 2019).
“This is a matter of paramount importance to the UK, and to fishermen in my own constituency” says Drax. “We have bartered away our fishing for a paltry return for far too long. Now that we are finally leaving the EU, we must reclaim control of our waters and decide what we need before considering any other claims.”
“Mr Patterson asked the Prime Minister – and I quote – to “guarantee that we will not make the mistake of the 1970s and allow the allocation of fishing resources to be a bargaining chip in the treaty negotiations? Will he guarantee that we will become a normal independent maritime nation and conduct negotiations on an annual basis for reciprocal deals to mutual advantage?”
“The Prime Minister replied that we need to “restore to this country the advantages of its spectacular marine wealth, and that is exactly what we will do, once we become an independent coastal state.”
“Mr Johnson also reminded the House that the Scottish National Party was determined to hand back its fisheries to Brussels, which he called an “abject policy and abject surrender.””
“Mr Patterson and the Prime Minister have my total support. The new Government is being watched closely to ensure it keeps its word. Our fishermen have been patient for too long. Now is the time to keep our promises.”