Speaking to Express.co.uk, the passionate Brexit campaigner urged Brussels to stop “plundering” British fishermen of their own waters as she argued fishing is an integral part of Britain’s national identity. Ms Grant said: “I completely understand that fishing doesn’t make up a huge part of our economy but I think it’s significant in the fact that it is so integral to our national identity and our heritage. And our coastal communities really deserve so much better. I think it’s more just part of the pride of our nation, our fishing waters.
“And the fact that for decades they’ve now been plundered and abused by EU’s super trawlers and the fact that the French, the Dutch and the other coastal member states of the EU are insisting on having our waters really speaks to how unreasonable they are being in these negotiations.
“These are our waters – and it’s the same for them, fishing doesn’t make up a huge part of their economy either.
“Why can’t they just give us our waters and respect the fact that we want to be a sovereign nation in control of our waters?
“But yet Barnier, on behalf of the member states, is insisting on making sure they keep their quotas which I think it’s not a very good attitude coming from the EU.
“They’re not willing to compromise on this and neither are we.
“They’re our waters and our fishermen and our fishing industry deserve so much better than this.”
Britain told the European Union on Wednesday it needed to break a fundamental impasse to clinch a Brexit trade deal by the end of the year and said an agreement on fisheries might not be ready by July.
The United Kingdom left the EU on January 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place during a transition period until the end of this year, allowing it time to negotiate a new free trade deal with the bloc.
Failure to reach a deal would convulse global trade just as the world aims to exit the coronavirus lockdown. But so far the talks have not gone well – and that was the only thing on which both sides agreed at the end of the last round.
Asked whether it was possible to reach a trade agreement in the short time remaining, British Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: “My judgment is that it’s perfectly possible to do so.”
“The principal difficulty is not a difficulty of technical detail – the technical detail on both sides is well understood – it’s a difference of political position, and I hope that we can break that impasse,” Mr Gove told the British parliament’s committee on the future relationship with the EU.
“The main difficulty we’ve had is… just the difficulty of mimicking by video what happens in a real meeting,” Mr Frost said, reflecting on the value of direct contact with the other side.
Mr Frost said it was also proving difficult to reach a deal with the EU on fishing rules by July, as the sides aspired to do in a joint political declaration.
“I’m beginning to think we might not make it by June 30, though we’ll keep trying,” he said.
On Thursday, Michel Barnier told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk Britain must be more realistic if it is to clinch an orderly agreement on leaving the single market and customs union.
“There should be more realism in London in the coming period if they want an orderly agreement to withdraw from the single market and customs union,” he said, adding fishing, competition conditions and governance rules were the toughest areas.
“But we will not make progress there if the British continue to pick and choose the best of both worlds for themselves,” he said, adding a deal by the end of this year was “extremely difficult, but still possible”.