Brexit LIVE: British fishermen explode over SELL-OUT – Boris warned over ‘pathetic’ plan
BRITISH fishermen have erupted at Boris Johnson amid growing fears the UK has watered down its demands on fishing at the last minute of Brexit talks.
Ireland: EU is the new ‘Holy Catholic EMPIRE’ says resident
Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU remain on a knife-edge with access to British fisheries proving the main stumbling block to a deal ahead of the looming December 31 deadline. Britain will leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and wants to adopt a system of annual negotiations of quotas, rather than a fixed number of catches. The Prime Minister has vowed to take back control of the UK’s 200 nautical mile coastline and it is thought this would involve cutting EU access by up to 60 percent over a three-year period.
But, with just days to go in negotiations, reports suggest the UK has caved in on this and has offered to reduce the amount of fish EU fishermen can catch by around a third over the next five years.
The prospect of handing large swathes of fish back to EU vessels has been condemned by UK fishing group Fishing for Leave who branded the proposal “abysmal”.
Fishing for Leave also claimed if EU fishermen were denied access to UK waters after the five year period of adjustment then tariffs would be imposed on all goods.
In a statement, Fishing for Leave said: “After five years of waiting to get back just a third of our fish, if we do try to get to where we should be, the EU has a huge lever to whip us to where it wants with the threat of all goods tariffs or rescind the deal.”
Brexit news: Boris Johnson has been warned about handing back fish to the EU
Brexit negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier continue talks today
They added: “Essentially we now have a fishing backstop. Nominal independence but no ability to use it because of a bigger issue. Sewn up, stitch up.”
Britain officially left the EU in January under the Brexit withdrawal agreement and the UK fishing group has blamed the deal – struck in large by former Prime Minister Theresa May – for the current situation.
They argue the treaty should be abandoned and insist the EU has no right to demand a single piece of fish from UK waters.
Boris Johnson has threatened to walk away from talks without a deal
Fishing for Leave added: “No other nation barters raw resources for trade – the Tories should be ashamed they acceded to May’s dire deal that’s led to this – particularly when they’ve a majority to rip it up.
“We are under no obligation to give the EU one tail – yet somehow the narrative of getting a third of our rightful possessions back from our neighbours is ok. It’s pathetic.”
Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister and long-term Brexit critic on social media, has been branded a “useful idiot” who underlines the reasons underpinning the UK’s decision to quit the bloc every time he tweets.
Martin Daubney opened up on his former Brussels colleague after Mr Verhofstadt posted a message gloating about France’s decision to close its borders to UK lorries in response to the emergence of a new, more contagious strain of COVID-19 in Britain.
He posted: “Thank you @guyverhofstadt on behalf of the 17.4million who voted Brexit.
“Every time you tweet your open contempt for the UK you absolutely remind us why we voted to jettison overblown feudal mayors like you.
“For the UK Leave movement, you’ve been a supremely useful idiot.”
Guy Verhofstadt has been condemned by a leading Brexiteer
12.20pm update: ‘It’s all down to fish!’ Irish PM says fisheries only stumbling block to a deal
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said fishing was the main obstacle in the way of a deal after movement on the so-called level playing field on completion.
He said: “It’s all down to fish, it would appear right now
“There was a lot of progress made on the level playing field over the last two to three weeks and it’s very difficult for all involved but the gap is still wide on fish, and for fishing communities in Ireland it’s a time of worry.”
Brexit trade talks remain on the brink with just days to go until the end of the transition period and relations between the UK and France have been strained after Emmanuel Macron temporarily shut the border over coronavirus fears. Should the Prime Minister walk away from Brexit talks after the French President closed down the border? Vote now.
11.15am update: Ireland expects Brexit deal to be reached
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin says he expects a trade deal to be reached in the coming days and warned a no deal outcome would provide an “appalling shock” to the economies in Europe and UK.
He said: “On balance I think given the progress that has been made that there should be a deal.
“And I think that a no deal would be an appalling shock to the economic system on top of Covid-19 which has really hit the respective of economies of the UK, Ireland and the EU member states.
“In particular, our domestic economy has taken a very big hit. And so we do need a deal.”
Micheal Martin has warned of the economic damage of a no deal Brexit
11.00am update: Irish PM says officials could thrash out a Brexit deal on Christmas Day
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has raised the prospect of officials working on the text of a Brexit deal on Christmas Day if a breakthrough comes before then.
He said: “If you had a breakthrough tonight or tomorrow officials in Europe could be working Christmas Day on the text.”
10.30am update: Brexiteer says Marcon and Barnier plotting Brexit extension
Former Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips has claimed Emmanuel Macron and Michel Barnier will attempt to delay Brexit beyond the December 31 deadline.
Speaking to TalkRADIO, Ms Phillips explained talks could continue in areas where an agreement is not reach in a so-called “sectoral extension”.
She said: ““There are various ways this could play out.
“The French press who are often well versed by Macron or Barnier seem to think that there would be sectoral by sectoral extensions.
“That would mean maintaining the status quo in areas that have not been decided so negotiations can continue, essentially transition in all but name being extended.
“I think it is very likely we will have a deal because there are already thousands of pages of legalise covering about 98 percent of stuff that has already been negotiated.”
Brexit: EU planning for a ‘transition in all but name’ says Phillips
10.10am update: Andrew Adonis calls on PM to delay then cancel Brexit
Andrew Adonis has called on Boris Johnson to delay Brexit beyond the December 31 deadline and use the time to cancel leaving the EU.
In a post on Twitter, the ardent Remainer said: “It is obvious that we should be delaying the end of the transition beyond next week, and use the delay to reverse Brexit.”
Brexiteer Kate Hoey has said a delay to crucial trade talks “will not happen” and has told a Tory MP he looks “desperate” for issuing a last-minute plea on the matter.
The former MP for Vauxhall and current Labour peer offered a stern response to remarks made by Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset.
Mr Hoare, chairman of the Northern Ireland Select Committee, said he would “really like to see the clock temporarily ‘stopped’ on Brexit talks” amid the “worsening Covid situation”.
He said: “There’s no Parliament time to scrutinise and agree a deal and daily clarity of the dangers to our already pressured economy of no deal is alarming. Time for maturity.”
Baroness Hoey, tweeting in response, said Mr Hoare looked “slightly desperate”, and dismissed the idea of a delay to the December 31 deadline.
She wrote: “Dear Simon. You have done everything you could to stop Brexit since the referendum. But you failed. Now you are just looking slightly desperate. Time to accept that despite being a chair of a Select Committee you are not in Government and a delay will not happen.”
A timeline of Brexit talks with the EU
9.20am update: Michel Barnier sets NEW Brexit deadline
The UK is heading for a no deal Brexit unless a trade agreement with the European Union is found by tomorrow, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned.
According to a leaked memo, seen by Express.co.uk, Mr Barnier said: “What happens if we have an agreement, not this week but next week – and we can no longer get it ratified?
“There’s no more time, we can no longer go through the provisional application… well what will we do then? We have to manage this short no deal period for a few weeks as well as we can.”
9.00am update: Jenrick ‘optimistic’ Brexit deal can be reached if key issue resolved
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said he is “optimistic” a trade deal can be reached with the EU before the deadline if issues around sovereignty can be resolved.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:”We want to ensure that we have arrangements in both respects that ensure that we continue to be an independent, sovereign nation.
“And so getting those details right is very important, and the Prime Minister, I think, is aligned to the fact that this is an agreement that is likely to last for a long time.
“We want to make sure that it is right for the country before he can recommend it to Parliament.”
Mr Jenrick added: “I’m optimistic, I hope that we can reach an agreement, but we will need to get those final issues resolved, and there’s some way further to go on that.”
EU nations most reliant on UK fishing waters
Boris Johnson is furious at Emmanuel Macron for barring British lorries from crossing the Channel into France, and his anger has the potential to sink a post-Brexit trade deal completely, a UK insider has warned.
The decision to close the border in response to the emergence of a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus has dramatically increased tensions between London and Paris.
A deal to reopen the border was thrashed out last night, but lorry drivers will still need to show a recent COVID-19 test in order to travel to the continent, and disruption is ongoing.
8.15am update: Jenrick urges the EU to ‘respect’ the UK in Brexit talks as ‘serious’ differences remain
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said the UK cannot sign up to a Brexit deal which does not “respect” the UK as a sovereign independent nation.
Mr Jenrick said there remains “serious” differences between the UK and EU over fisheries and the so-called level playing field on completion.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “There is still the same serious areas of disagreement, whether that is on fisheries or the level playing field.
“We are working through those issues, our negotiators will keep going – the Prime Minister has been very clear that he is going to negotiate until the very end which is December 31 because that is the right thing, it is what the British public would expect.
“But at the moment there isn’t sufficient progress, it isn’t a deal that the Prime Minister feels he can sign us up to because it doesn’t yet respect us, in full, as a sovereign, independent nation.
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