Eustice refuses to rule out boarding EU boats if Brussels won’t back down

The environment secretary George Eustice has hinted that Britain could begin boarding EU fishing vessels if Brussels bureaucrats don’t back down on unreasonable regulation agenda that has seen British shellfish banned from the corrupt bloc.

Taking questions in the Commons yesterday, Eustice was asked about possible retaliation and the possibility of boarding EU boats to ensure British laws are being complied with.

Sheryll Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, said: “I call on him to start the necessary and frequent boardings on EU vessels in our exclusive economic zone to ensure that they comply with UK laws. If we disrupt their fishing activity, so be it, but we must show the fishing industry support and also provide details of the promised financial support without which our industry will not survive.”

Eustice replied that the UK has taken “a pragmatic, sensible, phased approach in the initial months” of post-Brexit arrangements, but warned Brussels bureaucrats that “there is no obligation on us to continue that.”

He went on to demand “some reciprocation from the EU on the application of common sense and reasonableness” and added that “it goes without saying that any EU vessels accessing UK waters will need to abide by UK law.”

Royal Navy gun boats have already been deployed to the Channel in a post-Brexit show of force, highlighting British capacity to enforce the law in our own waters.

The row over shellfish exports has been rumbling for weeks. Last week Eustice spoke to a Lords committee and reported that “it’s fair to say that on that, the EU has changed its position and it only changed its position towards the latter part of last week.”

“We think this is a misinterpretation of their own laws and is unjustified and our animal and plant health team is working up a technical dossier to continue the dialogue so we can get that particular issue unblocked.”