‘Won’t take us on’ France naval war threats mocked after fishermen threaten no deal block

Brexit: EU 'wouldn't take us on' over fisheries says Mummery

France has maintained European Union fishermen will need to be able to access British waters past the Brexit transition period despite Britain insisting full control of the fishing stocks will need to be returned to the UK. Continental trawlermen and fishermen have threatened to impose a blockade on their British counterparts should the negotiations conclude in a no deal scenario and leave them without any right of access to UK waters. But former Brexit Party MEP mocked threats from the French and insisted any illegal attempts to bloc UK vessels will be punished by law.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Mummery said: “There’s laws of the seas, aren’t there?

“They might just stick their chests out for a couple of weeks and they try. But there are laws and there are rules.

“That’s just idle…just blowing off like they usually do. They won’t take us on.”

She continued: “They’ve tried that before, didn’t get very far. I’m not frightened of the French or the Dutch at all.

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“We are Great Britain and we will defend our waters and our country. And there are laws in place that will protect us too.”

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove also dismissed any suggestion that British fishermen will not be able to freely sell their catch on European markets past December 31 if no deal is agreed.

Fishermen’s Union Northern France president Olivier Leprêtre said in November France was ready to retaliate if continental fleets were to be excluded.

Mr Leprêtre said: “If French fishermen can’t go into UK waters, we’ll be in a complicated situation.

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“Because their catch goes to be sold here and fishermen here say they won’t allow British fish to be sold on the European market.”

But testifying in from of the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee, Mr Gove said: “For all fisheries exporters, irrespective of what happens with the trade agreement, it will be the case that they will need export certificates and catch certificates in order to sell their products in the EU market.

“But again, to be fair to the EU and in particular the French, they’ve ensured that there should be a smooth level of access as possible by making it clear that there will be a border control on fisheries products not at Calais but in Boulogne Sur Mer where the principal French fish market is.

“So on a pragmatic business to business level, arrangements have been made in order to ensure that trade can continue.”

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Negotiations have continued in Brussels throughout the past week after Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to go “the extra mile” to have a deal in place before December 31.

Fisheries have long represented a key point of contention between the two sides as the issue has become of symbolic importance for the British Government after years of fishermen pleading to regain full control of stocks.

Mr Barnier told MEPs: “If following a credible period of adjustment, the UK wants to cut access to these fishing waters, then the EU has to maintain its sovereign right to react or to compensate by adjusting conditions of products to the single market, particularly fish products.

“I don’t think it would be fair, nor acceptable, if European fishermen were not allowed, following transitional rights, to have access to those waters when the rest of the agreement, especially applying to companies from the UK, would remain stable in their rights.

“That wouldn’t be fair, that wouldn’t be honest.”

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