Jersey minister: 'We absolutely knew post-Brexit arrangements would cause difficulties'

6 May 2021, 15:39

By Fiona Jones

Jersey's External Relations Minister Ian Gorst tells LBC he "absolutely knew" post-Brexit arrangements would cause difficulties with tensions escalating as the fishing row continues.

There has also been footage of a French boat appearing to ram into a British vessel in the latest development of the conflict.

Twelve French fishing boats have recently arrived, appearing to be in response to a pair of Royal Navy patrol vessels arriving in Jersey "to monitor the situation" following plans for a demonstration by French fisherman.

France has also deployed its own patrol vessel, the Athos, to the scene.

It comes after a French government minister suggested her country could cut off the power it supplies to Jersey as part of a post-Brexit fishing dispute.

Mr Gorst told LBC's Shelagh Fogarty, "We absolutely knew that the new arrangements negotiated under Brexit would cause some difficulties. Our fishermen have been finding it very difficult to land in France, something that they've been doing unhindered for hundreds of years.

"We also knew that transitioning from an agreement that we had with France, which is called the Bay of Granville agreement, and has been in place for over twenty years, to the new agreement which was negotiated would be difficult.

"That's why we need to talk through these difficulties and find solutions to them. The answer to the problems that we've faced over the last few days is diplomacy."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with Chief Minister of Jersey Senator John Le Fondre and Minister of External Affairs Ian Gorst on Wednesday about the prospect of a blockade of Saint Helier.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the PM and chief minister "stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions and for dialogue between Jersey and France on fishing access".

"The prime minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey. He said that any blockade would be completely unjustified. As a precautionary measure, the UK will be sending two offshore patrol vessels to monitor the situation."