The dramatic message came from Daniel Hannon, a passionate Brexiteer who served as a Conservative Party MEP from 1999 till the UK’s EU departure earlier this year. Currently, Britain is in a Brexit transition period with the EU which is due to expire at the end of the year.
During this period the UK still has to pay into the EU’s budget and accept many rules made in Brussels.
The Government is seeking to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU to replace this when the year ends.
Boris Johnson has already ruled out any extension to the transition period.
According to the amount of fishing EU member states do in British waters gives the UK a strong hand in trade talks.
Daniel Hannan argued the EU is vulnerable to Britain over fishing
Fishing rights are currently one of the pain stumbling blocks in EU trade talks
Writing in the Daily Mail he said: “The vast majority of fish stocks in the North Sea are in British waters.
“But the EU’s quota system reserves more than two-thirds of those stocks for vessels from the other states.
“Even this figure underestimates the problem, because many British skippers, unable to make ends meet under the CFP, had to sell their licences to Continental fishing companies.”
“At present, around 90 per cent of cod fished in the English Channel is caught by European boats — 84 percent by French boats.
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“Around 90 per cent of cod fished in the English Channel is caught by European boats”
“Their livelihood is now seriously endangered.”
Unless a new trade deal is agreed European boats will no longer be allowed to fish in British waters.
Mr Hannan said Britain could make compromised over fishing rights, but can’t do anything that would undermine its sovereignty over UK territorial waters.
He argued: “There is plenty of room within that principle for generosity.
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“There is plenty of room within that principle for generosity”
Fishermen campaigning for Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum
“After half a century in the ruinous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), we don’t have the capacity to land all our own stocks.
“It makes sense to reach agreements with neighbouring states. This can be negotiated.
“What cannot be negotiated is the basic premise that Britain is entitled, under maritime law, to dispose of stocks within its own sovereign waters, out to 200 nautical miles.”
Negotiations between the UK and EU are currently deadlocked over the issues of fishing rights and industrial subsidy.
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, said in July these issues make any comprehensive deal “unlikely”.
However, Mr Hannon claimed Brussels is incorrectly expecting Britain to fold over these disputes.
He argued: “They still expect Boris, [Edward] Heath-like, to abandon our remaining fishing communities rather than face no deal.
Boris Johnson has ruled out any Brexit transition period extension
“This is a fundamental miscalculation. Boris Johnson’s mission is to align his party with such communities, cementing its dominance in former Labour seats.
“Nor, at a time when the SNP is ahead in the polls, can any UK leader look as if he is sacrificing a Scottish interest to a London one.
“In any case, the pandemic has fundamentally altered the costs and benefits.
“Our entire economy is going to look different coming out of this recession.”