This week, former Prime Minister Theresa May returned to the limelight during an urgent question to the House of Commons. The Tory MP for Maidenhead launched a brutal attack on Boris Johnson’s Government over the appointment of the EU negotiator David Frost as the new UK’s national security adviser. Mrs May accused Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove of promoting someone “with no proven expertise” to a crucial role at the heart of the UK’s safety.
It followed an outcry from security officials and former senior civil servants at the decision to hand the job to Mr Frost, who is expected to prioritise his role negotiating the UK’s deal with the EU while learning his new job.
Mrs May’s criticism of the Government’s appointment is fairly unusual – as since stepping down in July last year, the former Prime Minister has been out of the spotlight.
Many Brexiteers still hold her responsible for failing to take Britain out of the EU on time and asking for an extension three times.
Her almost three years in office were entirely defined by Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and her increasingly desperate efforts to deliver on the outcome of the referendum called by her predecessor David Cameron.
Many Leave-voting MPs suspected she did not believe in Brexit, and viewed it as a “damage-limitation” exercise at best.
She did her best to dispel these doubts with her constant mantra “Brexit means Brexit” and her vow to deliver on the “will” of the people as expressed in the referendum.
However, it was not enough.
According to unearthed reports, Mrs May had already failed to win over Brexiteers in 2017, when she first set out her main objectives for the negotiations with the EU.
At the time, former Ukip MEP Mike Hookem accused her of betrayal for failing to mention the EU’s continued purge of UK waters in her main speech.
Mr Hookem felt the absence of fishing-related remarks in Mrs May’s words showed the former Prime Minister did not care about one of the most potentially lucrative industries in Britain.
JUST IN: Boris Johnson’s new deal ‘200 TIMES less ambitious’ than Roosevelt’s
In a column for Independence Daily, Mr Hookem wrote: “Re-establishing control of the UK’s 200-mile limit and the rich fishing grounds within it – known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – must be one of the top priorities of Brexit, yet it didn’t even get a mention.
“This is despite the UK fishing fleet having been decimated under the harsh terms of the CFP’s quota system with fleet reduction initiatives and discards policy, leaving those still operating struggling to make a basic living.
“Mrs May’s failure to address this issue is especially worrying, considering the industry could be such a shot in the arm for the British economy in the post-Brexit era.”
He added: “Figures released only last week show how the fishing industry could be worth a massive £6.4billion if we regain control of our seas. This could also create thousands of jobs; give a huge boost to the skills set of our young, and give purpose to many struggling coastal communities.
“Yet it seems our esteemed PM can afford to simply ignore fishing as an issue.
“My worry is, Mrs May did not mention fishing in her speech due to the Conservatives’ intention to use the industry as a bargaining chip in the forthcoming negotiations.
Macron’s post-Brexit plan subject to EU-wide referendum revealed [INSIGHT]
Denmark’s plan to keep ‘historical access’ to UK waters exposed [REVEALED]
Sturgeon beaten to the punch? Brexit ‘could spark Welsh independence’ [ANALYSIS]
“However, I for one am determined not to let this happen. There is so much untapped potential within the industry that it would be criminal to ignore the opportunity Brexit presents.”
The 66-year-old went on to say: “That is why I am calling on Theresa May to clarify her position on fishing and pledge to make it the first industry to become a full UK competence in the post-Brexit age.
“I would also like Mrs May to clarify that the UK will exit the CFP; reinstate and enforce the UK’s EEZ, and make sure that none of the damaging legislation forced on the fishing industry by the EU is carried into UK law under her Great Repeal Bill.
“Given a chance, the future of the fishing industry could be very bright, but only if we allow ourselves the opportunity to rebuild by doing away with all EU legislation in this area and return our seas to British control.
“Fishing was betrayed on our entry into the EU, however, I am determined it will not be betrayed on our exit.”
Contrary to Mrs May, since elected, Mr Johnson has promised to “get back control of UK waters” and Britons are not likely to forgive him any concessions on fishing in the trade talks with the EU.