New Brexit row

Boris sends Navy to protect fishing waters around Jersey

Patrol boats are monitoring channel

Britain’s Brexit trade rules took a dramatic twist as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Royal Navy patrol vessels to protect fishing waters around Jersey.

Mr Johnson’s intervention came as more than 100 French fishing boats prepared to sail to the island on Thursday.

French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut off Jersey’s electricity over new post-Brexit rules for French fishing boats.

“I am sorry it has come to this [but] we will do so if we have to,” she said.

Jersey is a Crown dependency 14 miles off the French coast and most of its electricity s delivered by underwater cables from France.

Ms Giradin’s threat prompted Mr Johnson to say “any blockade would be completely unjustified” and to send the vessels as a “precautionary measure”.

The new rules – introduced by the Jersey government under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) – require French boats to show they have a history of fishing in Jersey’s waters.

French authorities insist the “new technical measures” for fishing off the Channel Islands had not been communicated to the EU, rendering them “null and void”.

The prime minister held talks with Jersey’s Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst.

The two Royal Navy River Class offshore patrol vessels will “protect the UK’s interests at home and abroad”.

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