Brexit news: Barnier says UK ‘won fisheries argument’ as job losses loom in exodus of firms to EU

Sam Hancock and Peter Stubley
·1-min read
 (Getty)
(Getty)

A former Department for Exiting the European Union secretary has warned that the EU’s decision to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol risks lowering the bar for triggering it.

Philip Rycroft told Sky News on Saturday: “It was wholly disproportionate to what they were seeking to achieve - it was unnecessary. But it bears all the hallmarks for a bureaucracy that is under huge pressure, acting before it was thinking straight.”

It comes after Michel Barnier said that Britain had “won” the “situation” over fisheries in post-Brexit trade talks between the EU and UK, prompting critics to suggest Brussels’ former chief negotiator was being either “ironic” or “sarcastic”.

He claimed the UK had “regained sovereignty over their waters” and that it was “reasonable” to say “the British have won over the current situation” – amid ongoing disputes between Britain’s fishermen and the government over the dramatic effect of new Brexit policies on decreasing seafood sales.

Speaking to the Times magazine on Saturday, Mr Barnier said the two nations could continue having a healthy relationship if the “treaty is applied correctly, in good faith, by both sides”.

Meanwhile, reports suggest around two-thirds of lorries travelling from the UK to the EU via Calais and Dunkirk have nothing in them, with figures suggesting an average of 3,400 lorries a day travelled from the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel in France – but some 65 per cent were empty of goods, in a blow to Boris Johnson.

Watch: What could scrapping EU labour rights mean for UK workers?