It is almost worthy of Monty Python. As the Brexit negotiations move into the hard-edged territory of thrashing out the details of Britain’s future relationship with the EU, it looks as though it will all come down to the question of fish versus finance. If UK-based banks want to keep doing business as usual with the EU then European fishing boats will need to keep their access to British waters.

Judged simply by the numbers, it seems an absurd trade-off. One is a marginal area of economic activity that has been fading for decades, the other is an international powerhouse that generates masses of jobs.

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