Fresh Cabinet split as Philip Hammond and Michael Gove 'clash over post-Brexit fishing rights'

Posted On: 
21st August 2017

Philip Hammond and Michael Gove have clashed over the future of Britain's fishing waters after Brexit, it has emerged.

A trawler pictured off the east coast of England

In yet another Cabinet split over how the UK quits the European Union, The Sun reports that the Chancellor and the Environment Secretary were at loggerheads at a recent Cabinet committee meeting after Mr Hammond suggested using fishing rights as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Brussels. 

He apparently favours pooling fishing rights in exchange for concessions on a future trade deal, a stance Mr Gove is said to oppose. 

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“Philip and Michael had quite an exchange on what to do with fishing rights already," a Cabinet source told the paper.

“Michael was adamant that giving them away again would be a terrible betrayal of the coastal communities who all voted for Brexit.

“This will be one of the major Brexit division lines in Cabinet in the Autumn as we begin trade talks.”

However a second source played down the scale of the rift, saying: "There were different emphases on what to do with fishing in the negotiations.

“The Treasury and DEFRA have different priorities, but we are not at war quite yet.”

Earlier this month Mr Gove apparently told a conference in Denmark that European fishermen would continue to have access to British waters after Brexit. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said after Brexit the UK would "grant fishing access for other countries on our terms".

“We will allocate quotas on the basis of what is scientifically sustainable, making sure we have a healthy marine environment and profitable fishing industry.”