‘Don’t sell them down the river Boris!’ Kate Hoey issues PM warning as UK leaves EU today
OUTSPOKEN Brexiteer and former Labour MP Kate Hoey has paid tribute to all the people who made Brexit possible by refusing to be “bullied” into changing their minds – while warning Boris Johnson he must not sell the UK’s fishing industry “down the river”.
Ms Hoey – who stepped down at the last election, having represented Vauxhall in South London since 1989 – has been an outspoken advocate of Brexit, campaigning with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on a number of occasions. The former Minister for Sport under Tony Blair readily acknowledged her happiness at how things had turned out in the wake of last month’s general election, which saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Tories win an 80-seat majority, paving the way for Brexit on January 31.
She told Express.co.uk: “This is a very historic day. Legally we are no longer in the EU.
“Of course, we have to put up with another 11 months of the transition period, but I hope that our civil servants will immediately start to work in a different way given that we have to forge a new relationship with the rest of the world.”
Ms Hoey – whose own Constituency Labour Party in 2018 backed a motion calling for her to have the whip withdrawn, and who announced last year she would not be seeking re-election – acknowledged negotiations would be tough.
Kate Hoey has urged Boris Johnson not to sell out the UK’s fishing industry
Kate Hoey campaigns with Nigel Farage on Thames
However, she suggested the fact that what was up for debate was a trade deal as opposed to a political deal, a lot of the work would be done “behind the scenes”.
She said her chief concern related to the British fishing industry, warning: “I do not want to see them used as any kind of trade-off.
“Our fishing communities have had years and years of being sold down the river by Governments of all complexions.
Boris Johnson aboard the Opportunis IV fishing trawler in September
“This is an opportunity for the Government to finally take back control of our waters.”
Asked whether she would have predicted the UK would leave the EU five years ago, Ms Hoey said she was not surprised at the eventual outcome.
She said: “I’ve campaigned to leave the EU for many, many years.
Kate Hoey, pictured with other female Labour MPs, in 1997
The UK fishing industry must be protected by any future UK/EU trade deal, said Ms Hoey
“It’s a very satisfactory result for all of us, although it’s taken much longer than it should have since the referendum result.
“I’d like to pay tribute to all those people who were not bullied into changing their views.”
Ms Hoey – who gives her full verdict in an Op-Ed piece in today’s Daily Express – added: “I also think the Express newspapers and website have been very important in giving confidence to people.”
A map of fishing territories
As for what was next, Ms Hoey said: “I don’t like the word Brexit, I never did.
“But at least from Saturday, we can talk about the future.
“So many people who voted for Remain have now told me they have changed their minds and we all need to work together.”
Former Labour MP Kate Hoey is an ardent Brexiteer
Meanwhile, with respect to marking Brexit Day itself tomorrow, Ms Hoey had some words of caution.
She said: “There’s a difference between celebrating and gloating.
“There’s a lot of reflecting to do about how we all come together after this.”
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