UK Impact

Tory peer calls on Government to use TORPEDO BOATS to protect UK waters after Brexit

A TORY peer has demanded Britain use motor torpedo boats and “Marine reservists” to protect the country’s territorial waters after Brexit.

As the UK reclaims its sovereign waters, including its fishing territory, from the European Union, the House of Lords has debated introducing sufficient measures to ensure they can be protected.As a member of the EU, Britain signed up to the Common Fisheries Policy, which enables other EU members to use each others’ fishing waters.Environment Secretary Michael Gove demanded Britain pull out of the EU-wide policy immediately after Brexit.

Brussels, however, warned the stance could harm the prospects of a “no change” transitional agreement.

Brexit news UK fishingPARL.TV•GETTY

Brexit news: Tory peer calls on tough measures to protect UK waters after Brexit

Discussing the best ways to protect Britain’s sovereign waters after Brexit, Lord Sterling of Plaistow called on extra ships and resources to be made available by the Government.He told the upper chamber: “The first responsibility of government is the defence of the realm and, in particular, the homeland.“The coordination my friend, the Admiral, has spoken of is essential. But frankly, without the kit and the people, it doesn’t make much sense.

“We have had some of us push many times before that in practice we should have not just off-shore vessels but in-shore vessels, whether they are large rigs or MTB types, stationed in every single little port within the country.

“The key part I would like to ask the minister is that would have the effect of the public at large feeling they are protected. Using our reservists and our marine reservists to man these vessels, and encourage them to realise if the service is going to do what it really should be doing they must devote more money in order to give them the resources they need.”Lord Gardiner of Kimble, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said existing patrol boats will be replaced with new vessels.He added: “I want to be absolutely clear, we are analysing and working on seeing how best we can enhance the capability.”

This comes as European fishermen have begged EU Brexit negotiators to blackmail the UK into giving them access to British waters.

Sixty coastal communities across nine EU nations have called on Brussels to make UK fish exports to the bloc conditional on EU vessels’ access to British waters.Fearing MPs will bow down to angry British fishermen, who overwhelmingly voted to leave the bloc to “take back control of our waters”, the European Fisheries Alliance wants Brussels negotiators to demand the same free access European fishermen currently enjoy.Gerard Van Balsfoort, chairman of the alliance, which represents fishermen from Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Sweden and Ireland, said: “The Brexit agreement needs to take care of our coastal communities.

“The long-term economic future means safeguarding current reciprocal access arrangements to waters and markets and maintaining current distribution of fishing opportunities.”

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