‘We’re in the wrong!’ LBC caller rigorously defends France amid fishing licence fallout

Fishing: Iain Dale clashes with caller over licence row

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Presenter Iain Dale clashed with caller Alex who defended France as tensions boil over between the UK and the neighbouring country over fishing licences. Mr Dale challenged Alex, who said he was “pro-European”, after he argued France was simply looking after its own interests and had every right to do so. But Mr Dale slammed his abandonment of the UK, arguing France was acting out of line and disproportionately considering the large number of licences already issued as the pair furiously clashed.

Speaking on LBC, caller Alex rang into the station to defend France after it continues to grapple with the UK over fishing licences. 

He told Mr Dale France was simply “protecting” their fishermen and their waters and justified their reaction to being shut out.

The radio presenter was not convinced and explained the situation, adding: “No, they are not protecting their waters, they are going into our waters without permission.

“Some of their fishing boats haven’t got licences because they haven’t come up with the requisite paperwork.

“Why do you take their side over ours?”

Alex replied and said it was because he was a “European” with Mr Dale exclaiming against the caller siding with Europe over “your own”.

Alex then remarked  Napoleon once said the UK was an “island of shopkeepers” and said it would remain as such if it carried on.

Mr Dale wondered what was wrong with being a shopkeeper before stating the UK was following the Brexit agreement whereas France was not.

France seizes British boat amidst Brexit fishing row

He added: “That’s the problem here, and yet you’re taking the French side because you automatically side with anybody that is against this country.”

Alex doubled down and said the UK was tearing up the agreement with France with Mr Dale pointing out it was France who was not fulfilling their side of the bargain.

Mr Dale asked who was in the wrong with Alex believing the UK was in the wrong as it was being unfriendly towards European nations.

As part of the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), French fishing boats would have to reapply for fishing licences to operate in UK waters.

The aim was to put a cap on the already large fleet operating in UK waters without jeopardising French businesses who rely on the waters.

But many French boats lacked the correct paperwork or evidence to process their applications and so were rejected with the French authorities also dragging their heels in submitting them.

Ultimately, French fishing boats protested around St Helier, Jersey and demanded access to UK waters.

A grace period was granted by the UK Government to allow boats more time to collect the right evidence for their applications.

Environment Secretary George Eustice held a session in the House of Commons this week addressing the issue and revealed of the 1,673 licences issued, 736 has been for French vessels.

But the current falling out appears to be spurred on by the large portion of French boats that were denied access to UK waters to fish with only 12 of 47 granted licences in September.

Jersey also rejected 75 out of 170 applications, these were mainly rejected due to lack of evidence.

France has now threatened to stop UK boats from landing at French ports, cutting of Jersey’s electricity supply and diverted a UK trawler to Le Havre, claiming it did not have a licence to operate in France.

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