Boris Johnson sent a fishing ultimatum on his Brexit deal to restore control to the UK | Politics | New
Former Brexit MEP Mr Habib is a fierce critic of the PM who recently suggested he should step down for failing to keep his promise to make Brexit a success. Assessing the latest incident, which saw Mr Johnson send Royal Navy ships to the Channel Islands in response to threats from French fishing boats to blockade the port, Mr Habib said the decision was necessary.
But he suggested the confrontation was entirely preventable – and said that in the end Mr Johnson looked more like Neville Chamberlain than his hero Winston Churchill.
He told Express.co.uk: âIt should never have come to this.
âAll of our territorial waters should be under our control, as the Prime Minister has repeatedly said.
He explained, âA lot of our side of the channel don’t fish.
âThey take a look at its contribution to GDP and dismiss it as irrelevant. They are so wrong.
âIt’s not a question of GDP. It is about controlling the supply of this phenomenal renewable resource and the livelihoods of the people who depend on its exploitation. “
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“And that is why they have threatened to put Jersey into a blackout and even block it if the island does not issue enough fishing licenses.”
Referring to the remarks of Ian Gorst, the member of the Jersey government responsible for handling the situation, Mr Habib said: âThe Jersey Minister of External Affairs has called the threat disproportionate.
âAt first glance, he seems to be right, but he doesn’t appreciate, like so many others, the importance of fish. And in this context, he is wrong.
âThe shame of the situation is that our own government has sold the industry in the trash.
âAfter all his false promises, the Prime Minister gave in to pressure from the EU.
âTo stand firm, it took a fraction of the Churchillian resolution (only a fraction).
âFor having yielded, as he did, breaking his word, he allied himself in history with Chamberlain.
Fishing – and in particular access to UK waters by EU boats – has been a key issue in the Brexit debate.
Under the trade deal Boris Johnson struck in December, the EU was allowed to retain 75% of the value of the fish it now catches in UK waters, with 25% being returned to UK fishermen during the period of transition.
By 2026, Britain will be able to reduce quotas or exclude boats in an area of ââ6 to 12 nautical miles – but in practice such a move is unlikely, as it would almost certainly trigger retaliatory measures from Brussels that would impact other sectors of the UK economy.