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Gary Lineker weighs in on Brexit fishing row with France: ‘Warmongering nonsense grow up!’

The ardent Remainer and Match of the Day host has called on tensions to be diffused and demanded an end to “warmongering nonsense”. The Prime Minister deployed two Royal Navy vessels to the region on Wednesday after angry French fishermen threatened to blockade the port of St Helier.

French President Emmanuel Macron dispatched two police patrol boats to the contested waters as the threat of warfare surged.

On Thursday morning, local maritime groups reported more than 50 French fishing vessels had descended to the Jersey port, with some crew members armed with flares.

Writing on Twitter this afternoon, Mr Lineker said: “Any chance of growing up, behaving like responsible, decent human beings and stop this warmongering nonsense?”

In an earlier post, the retired England international made a light-hearted remark about the ongoing dispute between London and Paris.

He wrote: “Thoughts are with fish at this difficult time.”

The row between the UK and France centres on new fishing arrangements in Jersey, which were agreed as part of the Brexit trade deal in December.

Last Friday, the British overseas territory said French boats would need to obtain licences to carry on landing around the island – located just 14 miles off the coast of northern France.

They would also be subject to time limits and the arrangements triggered widespread protests from the French fishing communities at the Jersey port.

Up to 60 French vessels are understood to have taken part in the demonstration this morning, with reports of one Jersey boat being rammed into.

Josh Dearing, who owns The Jersey Catch fishing company, said the appearance of French boats had been “like an invasion”

He added: “There were probably about 60 boats.

“There were a few hand-held flares and smoke flares going off and apparently a few maybe bangers and stuff going off from the French.”

Dimitri Rogoff, who heads a group of Normandy fishermen, insisted the vessels were not seeking to blockade the port and played down the incident.

He said: “This isn’t an act of war. It’s an act of protest.”

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The Jersey Government said it has held a constructive meeting” with French fishermen this evening and have agreed to create a new forum to improve dialogue between the two sides.

Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre said: “The French fishermen protested peacefully and respectfully, and were able to set out their concerns directly to Government representatives.

“We recognise that there have been challenges in the implementation of the new trade agreement.

“Speaking directly to the fishermen has enabled both parties to better understand how those challenges will be addressed, and we are proposing the establishment of a forum which will enable the Government of Jersey to continue to engage with all fishermen in the region openly and constructively.”


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