Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative MP for Romford, has accused French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin and the country’s fishers of ‘a campaign of bullying and intimidation’, following the recent blockade of St Helier Harbour, as well as threats to switch off the Island’s electricity supply.
The actions were sparked by discontent over restrictions applied to newly issued licences to fish in Jersey’s territorial waters which, in the post-Brexit environment, the Island’s authorities have the sole right to issue.
Mr Rosindell, a strong supporter of Brexit and chairman of the Channel Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group, said that he was pleased the protest by dozens of French boats outside the Harbour was over.
He added, however, that he was ‘horrified’ by recent events and some of the threats that were made, which he described as ‘unforgivable’.
‘The behaviour of the French Minister for the Sea and French fishermen amounts to a campaign of bullying and intimidation against the people of a territory that have been loyal to the British Crown for nearly 1,000 years,’ he said.
‘Planning to blockade Jersey’s St Helier port was outrageous, but the threat to cut off electricity to the Island and boasting of bringing the Island and its people to their knees was flagrant aggression, which is unforgivable. Those responsible should be ashamed of their actions.
‘Jersey, as well as the other Channel Islands, are Her Majesty’s Crown Dependencies. They are part of the British family and the UK will stand with them in the face of coercion.’
He added that any future threats against Jersey would be seen as threats
against the entire British people. ‘The Channel Islanders are strong people who have endured many challenges during their long association with the Crown. They are not people to be bullied and France must understand this and back off,’ he said.
‘The UK and the British people will stand four-square behind the people of Jersey.
‘The French government must be told that any threats made against the Channel Islands will be seen as being made against all of us throughout the British Isles. Jersey will not stand alone.
‘The Channel Islands APPG in the UK Parliament gives its full support to the Chief Minister of Jersey and all the people of the Bailiwick at this time.’