An international scandal over a recent clash between the British and French fishermen has led to calls by UK officials to get rid of the Chequers agreement, outlining the nation's plan for future relationship with the European Union.
"We should chuck Chequers [the Prime Minister's Brexit deal] and establish our full control of our EEZ [British waters] out to 200miles," a Conservative MP Owen Paterson has reportedly said on a WhatsApp chat of Eurosceptic Tory MPs.
"We should then start managing our waters properly learning from competent maritime nations," Mr. Paterson added.
A number of politicians supposedly expressed concern over the incident and the way it was handled by the government in a leaked conversation.
In the chat the Environment Minister Michael Gove was accused of weakness.
"I completely agree Owen. We should not be starting at relative stability and gradually increasing UK share. Whatever are Michael and George thinking about? They are showing weakness. Their proposal is not taking back control. I feel badly let down," Conservative MP Sherryl Murray said in response to a message by Mr. Paterson.
On August 29, French fishermen threw stones and attempted to ram British bats in the English Channel, in a row over scallop crops.
Mr. Gove reportedly hit reply when he sent the following message to the chat:
"I understand and share concerns — as soon as we were alerted to the issue we contacted the MMO [marine management organisation] and French authorities. Our boats are legally entitled to be there fishing and the French boats are obviously acting illegally in response."
Eurosceptic MPs have previously criticized the government decision to accept EU quotas on fishing during the transition period after Brexit in March 2019. The British quotas in parts mean the UK boats are allowed to catch as little as 8 percent of fish.
The Chequers agreement announced on July 6 received Mr. Gove's backing, which prompted strong criticism on the part of his Eurosceptic fellow party members.