British navy patrol boats, protesting French fishers and Brexit – a summary of the escalating row
The immediate threat to which the prime minister was apparently responding when he dispatched the patrol vessels on Wednesday evening was a mooted blockade by French fishing boats of the port of St Helier, Jersey’s main entry point for supplies. French fishers accuse the Jersey authorities of limiting access to the waters around the Channel island – and being in breach of the post-Brexit arrangements agreed between the EU and the UK in its Christmas Eve trade and cooperation agreement. A flotilla of boats full of angry fishers did indeed gather at the port on Thursday morning under the watchful gaze of two Royal Navy River class patrol vessels. The bigger picture, however, is the rancour and tension between Britain and EU member states after a bruising few years since the June 2016 referendum result.