Michael Howard reaffirms that he will repatriate fishing policy by national legislation.
Yesterday, at 19.33, I received by fax direct from Michael Howard's office, a copy of a letter signed by Mr Howard, addressed to John Whittingdale, OBE MP, shadow agriculture and fisheries minister. This followed a meeting between Mr Howard and Messrs Whittingdale and Owen Paterson MP. The letter reads as follows:
You told me this evening that a number of those in the fishing industry have commented on my remarks on the Today Programme this morning. I thought it would therefore he helpful if I reiterated the position which I set out very clearly in Dundee click here and in my subsequent visits to fishing communities during this campaign.
We are determined that the next Conservative government will establish national and local control over fishing. We intend to raise this in the Council of Ministers at the first opportunity and I believe we can achieve this through negotiation. However, should negotiations not succeed, it remains the case, as I said in Plymouth, that the British Parliament is supreme and we would introduce the necessary legislation to bring about full national and local control.
I have a hard copy of this letter and the same in .pdf format. Thousands have now been circulated and anyone else who wishes to have their own copy can contact me click here, with your fax number if you wish a fax copy, and I will send it to you.
Personally, I cannot stress enough the historic importance of this document. The sentiments are not new but this is nevertheless an absolute commitment from the Leader of the Opposition that, if elected to government, he will seek repatriatiation of an important EU policy, by invoking the supremecy of the British Parliament.
This is the result of the tireless work of fishermen and their representatives - not least John Ashworth of Save Britain's Fish - and countless others, the work of Messrs Whittingdale and Paterson and, of course, because Mr Howard is now convinced of the case, and committed to the means by which it will be secured.
Have your fun at the Euro-elections, by all means, but for those of you who are committed to turning back the tide of European integration, the next task is to give Mr Howard the tools to do the job, at the election that really matters - the general.