Nigel Farage will join fishermen in Whitstable tonight for a protest against the government’s handling of Brexit.
The former Ukip leader is supporting the campaign by Fishing for Leave, an organisation which represents fishermen calling for full withdrawal from the European Union and a rejection of Common Fisheries Policy.
Mr Farage has accused of Theresa May’s government of betraying Britain’s fishermen.
He said: “I said during and after the referendum that fishing was going to be the acid test of Brexit. Currently every nation – bar the United Kingdom – benefits from the Common Fisheries Policy.
“For this, we can thank Edward Heath’s government, which sold out this once-proud industry on the principle of equal access to a common resource.
“The problem is, our resource is better than the rest of Europe’s.
“In order for Brexit to truly mean Brexit, we must take back control of our territorial waters.
“I fear this transition period will see many more of our fishermen go out of business, particularly in small fleets under 10 metres which are the most sustainable part of our commercial fishing industry.”
Fishing for Leave called on people to turn out in support of its campaign, which is seeing protests at harbours across the UK today.
It said: “This is our way of life and heritage – we have the chance to pass a bright future on to the next generation like our forefathers did to us.
“The protest’s purpose is to take our industry’s plight to the public and to pressure MPs not to allow this surrender of our nation’s greatest renewable resource which can support generations to come. No deal is better than this bad deal.”
A counter protest has been organised by Canterbury for Europe. Spokesman Chris Weller said: “We will be will be making their presence known.
“Do the Brexiters know that In 2015, 70% of fish caught in Whitstable was transported to markets in France, such as Boulogne?
“Do the Brexiters not realise that any contract will have to be renegotiated? These things don’t happen overnight. So once we’re off the cliff, what are they going to do with all their fish?
“We’ll watch Fishing for Leave burn a boat, but people need to realise that what they really want to do is burn this country’s bridges.”
Around 40 boats are expected to gather off Whitstable Harbour at 5pm tonight. The bonfire including a fishing vessel is due to take place at just after 7pm before the protest winds up around 8pm.