James O'Brien reacts to 'dire' situation for UK fishermen 'conned' by Brexit deal

15 January 2021, 11:08 | Updated: 15 January 2021, 12:46

By Fiona Jones

This is James O'Brien's reaction to the "dire" situation that UK fishermen face, stating that they have been "conned" in the post-Brexit deal.

British fisherman have accused Boris Johnson of dishonesty and betrayal over his Brexit fishing deal.

They are experiencing "continuing chaos" with lorry-loads of live seafood and fish destined for restaurants and shops in Europe being rejected because they are taking too long to arrive due to post-Brexit bureaucracy.

Taking ownership of British waters has been cited as a prominent reason to vote Leave amongst Brexiteers and has been a major topic of Brexit trade talks; however, due to this "dire consequence", James said UK fishermen have been "conned."

However, Jacob Rees-Mogg said fish are “better and happier” because they are “now British” after Brexit.

James reflected that he stood there for years receiving "vile abuse" from pro-Brexit supporters when he said that fishermen could be "doomed" if the UK left the EU - and yet takes no pleasure in being proven correct.

"I'm not sure reality cares about referendum results, I don't think you can vote your way out of the 21st Century," James said, admitting he almost felt guilty that his warnings were not heeded.

He said, "I think the Brexit argument is actually over already, for me it ended with the abolition of your freedom of movement. I felt that was the point at which everybody realises that for generations now we have diminished our own existence, our own freedom...people will still be able to do that but it will be harder than before."

James told listeners he felt "really sorry" for the fishermen, saying they didn't get what they wanted to and were "lied to."

"Contempt for the conmen, compassion for the conned, and the fishermen as it stands seem to be at the very front of the queue of people who have been conned," he said.

Read more: James O'Brien's message for fisheries minister who was 'too busy' to read Brexit deal