UKIP fisheries spokesman Mike Hookem has attacked europhile Labour MEP Richard Corbett, who claimed it’s an “illusion” to think Britain will regain control over its territorial fishing waters after Brexit.
Mr Hookem accused Labour of being “no fishermen’s friend; unless, of course, they are French, Dutch, Belgium or Danish”.
Mr Corbett told Express.co.uk it is an “illusion” the UK will regain control of its fishing waters, despite Government promises to quick the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy.
He said: “Fishing and fishing rights, we have got to negotiate a solution there because it’s an illusion to think that we suddenly take complete control over a portion of the North Sea.
“The big problem in fishing, as you know, is overfishing and the need to protect the stock, you can’t do that unilaterally. Because fish have the unfortunate habit of swimming from one country’s waters to another country’s waters.”
Mr Hookem responded furiously, promising public backlash if Labour were to regain power and continue to relinquish the sovereignty of the UK’s fishing waters.
He said: “It is Mr Corbett who is living an illusion if he thinks the great British public are going to sit back and allow Brussels to continue pillaging UK fishing ground after Brexit.
“Daily, public support for UK fishing industry continues to grow, and people who have never had anything to do it now realise the extent to which the industry has been betrayed over the past 40-years.
The Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP continued, “Corbett’s comments prove once and for all that the Labour Party are no fishermen’s friend; unless of course, they are French, Dutch, Belgium, or Danish fishermen.”
“We have all seen the ‘reforms’ to the CFP that people like Corbett support!
“More EU and less and less British fishing!
“You only have to look at the fisheries committee vote in November that allowed the extension of the EU’s experimental ‘pulse’ fishing licence; an electrofishing method banned in China, which British fishermen blame for decimating fishing grounds off the UK’s South-East coast.
“The reality is, Corbett’s comments are all part of a protracted Remain campaign to undermine fishing as one of the crunch issues of Brexit. For me, Corbett is speaking purely for his friends in the EU; rather for those hardworking fishermen, he is elected to represent in the constituency we share.”
The Ukip MEP vowed to continue to battle for the rights of the UK’s fishermen, insisting his Labour Party counterpart was undermining their efforts.
Mr Hookem concluded: “Yes, negotiations will have to take place to decide on maximum sustainable yields and total allowable catch in British waters; but that should be based on British science in British waters, not on shaky EU evidence that many fishermen say in not worth the paper it is written on.”
“The simple fact is, Richard Corbett should be offering fishing communities up and down the UK a future, rather than trying to undermine their efforts for the return of an industry by spouting his EU inspire claptrap.”