Redwood pledges to regain fishing rights

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John Redwood has indicated that the Tories would amend the Act of Parliament that took Britain into the European Union in order to pull the country out of the common fisheries Policy.

John Redwood has indicated that the Tories would amend the Act of Parliament that took Britain into the European Union in order to pull the country out of the common fisheries Policy.

The shadow cabinet minister appeared to toughen the Tories' stance on Europe in an e-mail to a fellow Eurosceptic explaining how the party would honour its pledge to regain control of Britain's fishing rights.

The e-mail, passed to BBC Radio 4, says: ''We will expect to win them back by renegotiation but, if they refuse, we will amend the 1972 European Communities Act to take them back unilaterally. Easy, isn't it? Best wishes, John Redwood."

The Tories insisted Mr Redwood's promise was in line with Michael Howard's pledge to renegotiate the fisheries policy. The Tory leader has promised that, if necessary, legislation would ensure "full national and local control of fishing". Sir Stephen Wall, former adviser on Europe to Tony Blair, said the Redwood plan could be illegal. ''We could find ouselves before the European Court, facing very swingeing fines. I think it would be the first time the British Government had effectively torn up a treaty -that is normally something that dictatorships do."

Alan Milburn, Labour's policy and election co-ordinator, warned that Mr Redwood's proposal could lead to Britain's withdrawal from the EU. He said the Tories were committed to the wholesale renegotiation of the terms of membership: "Michael Howard would need the agreement of the 24 other EU member states - yet not one supports his party's position. This policy would therefore have only one of two consequences: withdrawal or climbdown and national humiliation."

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