Boris must ‘not cave to French bullying tactics’ PM warned with fishing deadline today

Brexit: Fishing industry was 'sacrificed' by government says Deas

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The EU gave the UK until December 10 to issue more fishing licences to French vessels. Emmanuel Macron’s government has threatened to take retaliatory measures against Britain if more licences are not granted, accusing the Government of failing to honour the terms of the EU trade deal.

Under the terms of the post-Brexit trade agreement signed last December, fishing boats with historic access to Britain’s waters must be given permits to allow them to continue to do so.

They must prove they accessed the waters at least one day a year between 2013 and 2016.

On Thursday Downing Street refused to back down in the face of fresh French threats of EU-wide retaliation if more licences were not granted.

Now, leading figures have urged the Prime Minister not to cave in to the demands of Mr Macron and the French government.

Former MEP, June Mummery, told “The Government must stand firm because the French are not eligible.

“They have no track record to fish in those grounds.

“If our Government did cave into the French bullying tactics, this would make a mockery of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and would reopen more ridiculous claims to the French.”

The former MEP went on to demand the EU “pull the French in line” as they are members of the bloc whereas Britain is not.

She went on to say: “Why are we negotiating this with the French? It should be the EU. We are not in the EU, they are.

“We should be dealing with the EU not them personally.

“Boris never gets it right, does he? I would turn around and say, ‘No Mr Macron I do not want to talk to you. We are going to talk to your organ grinder, not the monkey’.

“The other member states are not doing anything, are they?

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“This is where things go wrong. We have left the EU. We should not be having personal meetings.

“Why is Boris meeting him personally when he should be dealing with the EU?

“This is Boris all over again. It is just weakness.

“What about all our fishermen then who have abided by the rules?”

Barrie Deas, chairman of the National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations, also urged the Prime Minister to stand up to the EU.

He told “I think that the UK is completely abiding by the terms of the TCA.

“This requires that EU vessels must demonstrate that they have actually fished within the UK 6-12-mile limit to be eligible for a licence to fish there until 2026.

“I think that the French fishing industry was told that with the TCA nothing would change – which is not the case.”

He continued: “We were very unhappy that the TCA did not allow us the full benefits normally associated with coastal state status and that the fishing industry was sacrificed for other national objectives but limiting access to our inshore zone to grandfather rights and autonomy to regulate the fisheries in our waters in the future were two important gains.”

Mr Deas believes the current row between the EU and the UK is about two things: the French presidential election and is an attempt to limit the UK’s future divergence from the Common Fisheries Policy.

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