Brexit LIVE: Boris Johnson ‘sadly mistaken’ if he thinks he can ‘betray fishermen’ to EU

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Post-Brexit trade talks between UK chief negotiator David Frost and Michel Barnier continued into the late hours on Wednesday night with outstanding issues over fishing dominating the proceedings ahead of the official December 31 deadline. With time running out, the UK is thought to have handed an olive-branch to the EU and it is understood Mr Barnier told EU ambassadors that Britain could now accept just 60 percent of the value of stocks in its own waters – down from the original 80 percent figure.

Fishing represents less than one percent of the UK economy but has become a symbol of taking back control from Brussels and handing it back to British fishermen who have been bound by strict EU rules for the past 40 years.

In a post on Twitter, former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe, said: “People sneering at fishermen and claiming their industry is worthless prove they’re just desperate for Brexit to fail.

“Government after Government have betrayed our fishermen. If this Prime Minister thinks he can get away with doing the same, he’s sadly mistaken.”

Tory backbench MP John Redwood added: “Message to government. Set out the many wins from Brexit. Use our new freedoms well.

“Get us out without surrendering our fish, our borders, our laws. We voted to be independent. Once free we can do better.”

The Prime Minister has insisted the UK remains committed to trying to secure a trade deal with the EU but warned it would not come at the detriment to the UK fishing industry.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: “I think our friends know what the UK’s bottom line is and what people voted for on June 23, 2016 – they voted to take back control.

“It’s about making sure that the UK is able to run its own laws, its own fisheries and so on.”

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7.50am update: Williamson says ‘good progress’ being made in EU trade talks

Gavin Williamson says “good progress” is being made in post-Brexit trade talks with the EU and insisted the UK always expected negotiations to go down to the last-minute.

Speaking on Sky News, the Education Secretary said: “We always expect negotiations to go up to the wire, it’s a very typical situation when you’re having a negotiation with the European Union.

“I’m confident from what I hear that progress, good progress is being made but we’re going to do a deal that is right for Britain, if such a deal is available.”

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