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Fishing and the complex politics of Brexit

Dr Christopher Huggins

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Wednesday, 7 December 2022,
18:00 to 19:30

The lecture commences at 18:00, with teas and coffees from 17:30


Despite only accounting for a small proportion of the UK’s economy and employment, fisheries became a defining political issue during the Brexit referendum and in the negotiations with the European Union which followed. On the one hand the promise to ‘take back control’ of UK waters offered a simple litmus test for Brexit. On the other hand, the territoriality of the UK’s fishing industry, competing interests within the industry itself, as well as the UK’s international obligations highlighted an inherent complexity which government and policy-makers have struggled to grapple with.

This lecture explores why fishing came to dominate the politics of Brexit. It examines how fisheries policy has been handled since the Brexit referendum and how this case tells a wider story about the UK’s approach to post-Brexit policy development and its wider constitutional settlement at a time of significant political instability.


Dr Christopher Huggins is Associate Dean for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience and Associate Professor in Politics. Christopher contributes to a range of teaching across the social sciences and is course leader for the BA (Hons) Politics programme and associated routes. In addition to his teaching, Christopher has a strong research profile, focusing on subnational politics in Europe and the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Christopher has a strong track record in knowledge exchange and public engagement, including extensive media and parliamentary engagement. Christopher is also an editor of the Journal of Contemporary European Research. He is also external examiner for the Politics and International Relations programme at London Metropolitan University. Christopher was awarded his PhD from the University of Portsmouth in 2015. Before joining the University of Suffolk, he held positions at Keele University, the University of Aberdeen and the University of the West of Scotland.