Many suggested to the Remainer and former New Labour adviser that he had a short memory, as distraction was a “tactic” he used for Tony Blair. Last night (Thursday), Liz Truss summoned the French ambassador to the UK over an escalating row over fishing licenses in the English Channel following Brexit.
The Foreign Secretary said she wanted Catherine Colonna “to explain the disappointing and disproportionate threats made against the UK and Channel Islands”.
On Tuesday, a British fishing trawler was seized by France, while another was fined during checks off the French coast.
French authorities claimed the detained vessel did not have a licence.
Responding to Ms Truss’s announcement, Mr Campbell commented that the real reason for the summoning may be political.
READ MORE: Fishing row: Europe minister warns force against British needed
He suggested: “Memo from Johnson to Truss: ‘Budget unravelling fast. Need distraction. Summon French Ambo over something.’
“’Is it OK if I get a deputy to do it?’ ‘Wotevs.’”
Mr Campbell added: “They are beyond a joke, and doing irreparable damage to UK, all to pretend Brexit isn’t going badly.”
@PhilipIngMBE responded that Ms Truss’s move was a “sensible diplomatic tactic” as “it means it can be escalated if necessary or dismissed as a minor issue rather than go to war immediately”.
French ministers have also reacted angrily to fewer fishing licenses being granted by the UK and Jersey than had been requested.
Two Royal Naval river-class patrol boats, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, were sent to Jersey in May, after French fishermen threatened to blockade Jersey’s harbour in protest over a perceived lack of access to its waters.
Under the withdrawal agreement, 25 percent of the EU’s fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred over to the UK from 2021 to 2026.
However, the majority of that – 15 percent – will be transferred in 2021, with a further 2.5 percent being transferred over in the following four years.
This “adjustment period” allows EU fishers time to get used to the new arrangements. They have until June 30, 2026, after which there will be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared between the UK and the EU.
By 2026, it is estimated that UK boats will have access to an extra £145m of fishing quota every year.