Iain Duncan Smith heckled on the street in Manchester
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Interviewed by TalkRadio on Wednesday morning live from Manchester during the Tory annual conference, Sir Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) gave no quarter to Emmanuel Macron after one of his Ministers issued threats to the UK over fishing licenses. In his opinion, the conflict regarding fishing in UK waters is a “perennial” debate that has always existed.
“It will go on forever and it was going on before Brexit,” said Sir Iain.
“It went on before when we were in the EU, they blockaded and rammed fishing boats on the northern coast of France.”
The former Conservative leader said the whole situation is a political strategy to help Macron advance the 2022 presidential race.
“The French are heading for an election, they have got a French president who is not doing very well in the polls.”
“A lot of this stuff is engineered in France I believe as part of this ‘We are standing up and we will not let them get away with stealing our fishing rights’ process.”
Although all recent polls conclude in Macron winning a second term next year, his results in a second-round against Marine Le Pen, Eric Zemmour or any conservative candidate from Les Républicains would be far behind the score he reached in 2017.
A recent nationwide poll by Ipsos also claims 59% of the people surveyed are dissatisfied with Macron as president.
“The government is trying to resolve this with the French but the truth is there are no reasons why we should back down,” said Sir Iain.
“We negotiated something. Hard luck if the French people don’t like it.
“They should go and kick the backside of the EU negotiators. Good luck to them.”
His remarks come after French Europe Minister Clement Beaune threatened to cut the energy supply of Jersey island as retaliation to the number of fishing licences French fishermen received from the UK.
On 29 September, 64 full fishing licenses and 31 short-term licences were issued by the UK and Jersey to French fishermen out of 169 applications.
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However, 75 boats were officially asked to “stop all activity within British waters” in the next 30 days.
Paris is furious that some fishermen were refused the right to fish in UK waters as they have been doing so for years.
Brexit Minister Lord Frost made a statement following the French’s discord and said the government has “granted 98 percent of the licence applications from EU boats”.
“We have been extremely generous and the French, focusing in on a small category of boats and claiming we have behaved unreasonably, I think is not really a fair reflection of the efforts we have made,” he said.
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