Exclusive: French demands to fish within 12 miles of the UK threatens Brexit deal

France has said it “must” have access to fish in waters between 6 and 12 miles of the mainland UK.

This would mean crossing one of the UK's negotiation “redlines” where fishing inside the 12 mile limit is exclusively given to the UK fleet. If the French persist with their demand it’s thought it could threaten any prospect of a deal. 

ITV News sources on both sides of the channel confirmed that France was behind the EU bid for access inside the 12-mile limit.

It is understood that because France have consistently done the majority of non-UK fleet fishing inside the 12 miles, they believe their historical fishing access gives them rights in the future.

One UK senior fishing source told ITV News they can “bu**er off” if they think they are getting that while another industry insider said “if he [Boris] were to roll over and give access he’d be crucified by the inshore fishermen in the UK”

These final days of negotiation have exposed the fractures between both sides and while some see the French request as damaging one source close to the EU said tonight they still feel “positive” about the prospect of a deal that is beneficial to both sides.