Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether they fear the Prime Minister will sell out British fishing in a free trade agreement with the EU. It comes as the UK and the bloc are on course for a post-Brexit battle.
Earlier this week, Mr Johnson and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier outlined their visions for the future relationship between Brussels and the UK.
The Prime Minister, who is pushing for a Canada-style deal, insisted that British fishing grounds are “first and foremost” for UK boats.
Speaking in Greenwich on Monday, Mr Johnson said: “There is no need for a free trade agreement to involve accepting EU rules on competition policies, subsidies, social protection, the environment or anything similar, any more than the EU should be obliged to accept UK rules.
“The UK will maintain the highest standards in these areas, better in many respects than those of the EU, without the compulsion of a treaty.”
He added that if a Canada-style agreement was not possible, he would be prepared to walk away without a full trade deal like Australia’s relationship with the EU.
Mr Johnson said that while he was ready to consider an agreement with Brussels on fisheries, “it must reflect the fact that the UK will be an independent coastal state from the end of this year, controlling our own waters”.
He continued: “Under such an agreement there would be annual negotiations with the EU, using the latest scientific data, ensuring British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats.”
Mr Barnier hit back: “It’s clear that the agreement that we wish to have in the interests of UK fishermen and in the interests of European fishermen – I call that reciprocal access to our territorial waters and our markets – that agreement on fisheries will be inextricably linked to the trade agreement, as indeed will be… the agreement on the level playing field agreed with Boris Johnson.”