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‘Huge concessions’ on fishing to seal Brexit breakthrough

BORIS JOHNSON has “caved in” on fishing to secure a Brexit deal, a European official has claimed.

Several news sites are now reporting on claims that the prime minister is “willing to accept” that the EU hands back 25% of the value of fish it catches in British waters over a five-and-a-half-year transition period.

It is in line with the figure that the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had said he was willing to accept.

Earlier in the week British demand for a 60% reduction in the catch by value in British waters had been reduced to 35% in a “final offer” from Number 10.

Joe Barnes of The Daily Express reports that it is “seen as a significant concession by the EU side and likely to anger Brexiteers in Britain.”

RTE’s Tony Connelly supported the claims, claiming that there was a last-minute “instrumental” development on fish.

The New European is also reporting the story.

Placards out: A young protester in Milford Haven a few years ago (Pic: Herald)

The French official, who declined to be named, told Reuters: “The British have made huge concessions in the negotiations in the past 48 hours.” The insider also warned that on fishing in particular, the latest position from the UK was “far” from the three-year access to British waters and 80 percent reduction in quotas offered by London a week ago. Fisheries has proved to be a major stumbling block in post-Brexit trade deal talks as the end of the transition period approaches on December 31.

But British officials are likely to claim victory over Brussels by stating that it will have meant that they have reclaimed control of its fishing waters ten years after the EU referendum.

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.”

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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.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage tweeted: “It sounds like the British team have dropped the ball before the line. No wonder they want a Christmas Eve announcement to hide the fisheries sell-out.”

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.