The EU should accept the UK’s “staged exit” plan for reducing access to British fishing waters, Andrew Bridgen has said. The Conservative MP had been talking to former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage about what compromises would be acceptable in a Brexit deal. Fishing has been a key sticking point throughout negotiations, and continues to be one of the outstanding issues for both sides.
Mr Bridgen told Mr Farage: “I’ve always maintained that the fish issue has been a red herring, if you’ll excuse the pun.
“They haven’t got any legal right to maintain take of our fish after we’ve left the European Union.
“They will always concede on that, but they’ll want us to concede on the very dangerous, innocuously-sounding level playing field.
“That’s anything but a level playing field, it’s a spider web we’ll never get ourselves out of.”
He continued: “On the basis of our fishing fleet being so depleted over the years, I would have a staged exit.
“That would allow the EU fishermen to continue to take some fish on a yearly quota basis, reducing over a number of years to allow our fishing industry to grow and fill the gap over a number of years.
“But not ten years by any stretch of the imagination.
“That’s the best deal the EU are going to get on fish.”
Three-quarters of Britain’s catch is sold to the EU.
Brexit trade talks are underway between the UK and EU in Brussels after Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to continue negotiations.
The Prime Minister and EU Commission President have mandated negotiations to “continue and see if an agreement at this late stage can be made”.
However trade talks “remain difficult” and “have not made significant progress in recent days”, according to a UK Government source.