Downing Street said four Royal Navy patrol vessels, backed by helicopters, would be sent to prevent European Union boats from fishing in UK waters. But the separatist Scottish Nationalists and one leader of the main opposition Labour Party have condemned the “gunboat diplomacy”.
A former Royal Navy chief has backed deploying warships to guard British fishing waters from European Union (EU) boats in case of a no-deal Brexit.
Retired Admiral Lord Alan West, a former First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was justified in its plan if last-ditch talks towards a post-Brexit trade deal fail – as looks likely.
The government would send four River-class armed Offshore Patrol Vessels, backed up by AgustaWestland Wildcat anti-shipping helicopters and a Merlin anti-submarine chopper to patrol the English Channel and Irish Sea against attempts by French boats to fish there illegally after the end of the post-Brexit transition period on 31 December.
But he pointed out that Parliament would have to vote to give captains authority to board, saying: “There are complications in that you can push vessels aside, you can cut their fishing tackle but boarding these foreign ships, they’ll need to pass probably a little thing through Parliament to give authority to board and get on them”.
And he said fishermen of all nations were “stormy people”, so Royal…