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Boris vows to defend fisheries: PM dismantles Barnier's claims after Brexit talks collapse


Boris Johnson hit back at the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier as the Prime Minister slammed his claim that the UK had been disrespectful to Brussels in the talks. The negotiations between the EU and UK broke down 24 hours early on Thursday with Mr Barnier accusing Britain of showing a lack of respect for his demands. Responding to these claims on LBC, the Prime Minister told broadcaster Nick Ferrari that the UK had shown respect but insisted his Government would not simply be bullied into backing down to EU demands.

Mr Johnson said: “We are not remotely disrespectful of Michel, or the EU system which I know well and understand deeply.

“I just don’t think it’s right for us to proceed with the European Court of Justice continuing to arbitrate in the UK.

“Or, us having to obey EU laws when we are out of the EU, or us having to hand over our amazing fish stock.

“So we are not going to do those things.”

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Ferrari questioned: “So are we on course and hitting the deadlines, are we getting Brexit done?”

Mr Johnson responded: “We did get Brexit done! We now need to make sure we get a good deal.

“I have had great conversations with colleagues around the EU.

“I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is there. There is a good agreement to be reached but obviously if we can’t, we have the very good option also of an Australian style deal.”

Mr Barnier highlighted access to fishing grounds for EU vessels and state aid rules as key points of British stubbornness.

He said he recognised the British red lines but suggested the EU’s flexibility had not been met with similar compromise from Downing Street.

Britain’s negotiator David Frost said the face-to-face meetings “underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues”.

This comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted for the third day in a row that the bloc should be ready for Britain leaving without a deal.


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