Farage takes centre-stage in fishers’ Brexit policy launch

Nigel Farage at the Scottish Skipper Expro International at AECC

Nigel Farage will team up with former UK Government minister Owen Paterson for the launch of Fishing For Leave’s Brexit manifesto in London today.

The campaign group will spell out what it wants to see from Brexit in a 144-page policy document.

A spokesman for the organisation said it would make clear the “constitutional realities and extrication process” needed to make sure UK control over fishing is “automatically repatriated and not betrayed as negotiating capital a second time”.

He added: “This policy advocates a radical new approach of a fit-for-purpose days-at-sea management regime suitable to the UK’s rich highly mixed fisheries.

“It ends the cause of the abhorrent practice of mass discarding caused by EU quotas and provides a framework to rejuvenate coastal communities that have suffered so much.”

Fishing for Leave has found a staunch ally in former Ukip leader, MEP and Brexiteer Mr Farage, who delivered a passionate defence of the industry at last year’s Scottish Skipper Expo International show in Aberdeen.

He is a guest speaker at today’s policy launch event at Westminster. Also speaking is North Shropshire Tory MP Mr Paterson, who was the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs from 2012 to 2014.

Fishers across the UK were largely in favour of Brexit in last year’s referendum.

But many now fear their industry could be used as a bargaining chip and point to what happened in 1973, when the UK negotiated its way into the European Common Market and the then prime minister Ted Heath was accused of “selling out” the industry.

Giving evidence before a Scottish Parliament culture, tourism, Europe and external relations committee hearing on Brexit last week, Scottish Secretary David Mundell insisted there was “absolutely no situation” in which fishing could become a Brexit bunfight.

This was welcome news for Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong, who said: “There would appear now to be a consensus on the part of the UK and Scottish governments that the fishing industry simply must not be deployed as a bargaining chip.

“There is a long, long way to go, but we look forward to regaining control of a key natural resource for the benefit of this and future generations.”