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    Twitter users accuse fisheries minister of PR stunt after claiming she had NO line on rod in picture

    Twitter users accuse Tory fisheries minister of PR stunt after claiming she had NO line on rod in picture boasting about a good day catching mackerel

    • Twitter users claim Victoria Prentis MP was posing with a rod with no visible line
    • Tory fisheries minister was promoting the Government’s Brexit Fisheries Bill
    • Ms Prentis was accused of ‘lying’ and being ‘clueless’ in a PR stunt gone wrong 

    A fisheries minister is accused of trying to hook, line and sinker the British public after sharing a photo of herself fishing with no visible line on her rod. 

    Eagle-eyed Twitter users claim that Conservative MP Victoria Prentis, 49, was posing with her rod angle out to sea without a line in a PR stunt gone wrong. 

    She had taken to sea on Saturday to promote the Government’s Brexit Fisheries Bill, which ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in UK waters.

    ‘Getting in the mood for the fish bill next week with a good day catching mackerel off the Pembrokeshire coast,’ Ms Prentis, a Defra minister, tweeted.

    But Twitter users have slammed the MP for Banbury for ‘lying’ and being ‘clueless’, and allege Ms Prentis was trying to distract people from emergency talks being held between Britain and the EU today amid growing gloom over a Brexit trade deal. 

    One social media user claimed: ‘I’ve never been fishing in my life but even I can tell that the rod is upside down. Rather like your ridiculous policies.’

    Eagle-eyed Twitter users claim that Conservative MP Victoria Prentis, 49, was posing with her rod angle out to sea without a line in a PR stunt gone wrong

    Social media users rounded on the Conservative fisheries minister after tweeting a photo of herself holding a rod angle out to sea with no line on Saturday

    Social media users rounded on the Conservative fisheries minister after tweeting a photo of herself holding a rod angle out to sea with no line on Saturday

    Another tweeted: ‘There’s no line on the rod. The rod is upside down. The rod has obviously been photoshopped into the image. She’s got a better chance of catching a fish by holding her pocket open and waiting for one to jump in.’ 

    ‘A perfect metaphor for a clueless Tory. The rod is upside down and has no line’, said one, while another claimed: ‘No line; wrong way up! Do you think we’re that stupid?!’

    One Twitter user said: ‘I am not a regular angler at all gone fishing twice in my life. That mistake was immediately apparent Fed up with MPs posing for photo opportunity to raise empty feelings and knee jerk reactions’.

    ‘Is it just me or not only does that picture have no line, but if you zoom in on it… it’s been really poorly photo shopped, you can see the pixelation around the entire length of the rod,’ another tweeted: ‘So it was a mock-up’.

    One social media user said: ‘Rod is the right way, but the daft prat is missing line.’

    Social media users rounded on the Conservative fisheries minister after tweeting a photo of herself holding a rod angle out to sea with no line on Saturday

    Social media users rounded on the Conservative fisheries minister after tweeting a photo of herself holding a rod angle out to sea with no line on Saturday

     MailOnline has approached Ms Prentis for comment. 

    Ms Prentis had taken to Twitter to promote the Government’s Brexit Fisheries Bill, which ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in UK waters.

    In a statement, Defra said the Bill will also enable the Fisheries Administrations to ensure that foreign vessels follow the same rules as UK vessels.

    The Government also says the legislation will ensure that fish stocks, and the marine environment, are better protected for future generations with new powers to set UK fishing opportunities and days at sea, new measures for the Devolved Administrations, as well as a single set of UK-wide fisheries objectives.

    As the Bill passed the House of Lords in July, Ms Prentis said: ‘I am encouraged to see the progress of the Fisheries Bill through Parliament. This Bill offers us the opportunity to set a gold standard for sustainable fisheries and gives us the powers to protect our precious fish stocks while enabling our seafood sector to thrive.

    ‘Now that we have left the EU, we have the opportunity to create a more resilient and profitable fishing industry, leaving behind the outdated Common Fisheries Policy.’ 

    It comes as Michel Barnier and the UK’s David Frost hold emergency talks today amid gathering misery about the prospects for a Brexit trade deal.

    The EU negotiator is coming to London for the meeting as the hunt for a breakthrough becomes increasingly desperate.  

    With just a month to thrash out trade terms in time for the end of the transition period, the bloc has accused Britain of ‘intransigence’.

    EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (right) will travel to London for the unscheduled talks with David Frost (left) in a bid to break the deadlock

    But angry UK sources point out that Mr Barnier is refusing even to discuss proposals on access to fishing waters – one of the key issues.

    Mr Frost is expected to confront his counterpart today on his policy of ‘parallelism’, which means he will not negotiate on an area until Britain has made significant concessions on others. 

    A UK source told the Times that the EU team was not ‘engaging’ on so-called ‘room papers’ that could form the basis for a deal.

    ‘The EU has always said that fishing is a key issue for resolution but has subsequently declined to discuss it,’ they said.

    ‘We had hoped to make progress and presented room papers but, unfortunately, the EU refused to engage due to their self-imposed requirements.’ 

    Formal negotiations between the two sides will resume next week. 

    A Whitehall source said that although the UK’s transition period from the EU is not due to finish until the end of the year, there is ‘realistically only a month’ to agree a deal in time for it to be ratified.

    Both sides have become increasingly gloomy about the prospects for a deal in recent weeks after hopes of a summer breakthrough faded.

    France yesterday accused Britain of deliberately stalling post-Brexit trade deal negotiations and having unreasonable expectations.

    Speaking to his nation’s ambassadors, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: ‘Negotiations are not advancing because of the intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom.’ 

    But British sources said the deadlock was due to the EU’s intransigence.

    ‘They don’t seem to be prepared to move on any of the big things,’ one said.

    Boris Johnson has said that from the end of this year, the UK will determine access for foreign trawlers in British waters, in common with other independent coastal states.

    Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to a school last month) has said that from the end of this year, the UK will determine access for foreign trawlers in British waters, in common with other independent coastal states

    Boris Johnson (pictured on a visit to a school last month) has said that from the end of this year, the UK will determine access for foreign trawlers in British waters, in common with other independent coastal states

    But the EU is demanding that its fishing fleet continues to enjoy its existing access rights indefinitely. 

    Brussels is also demanding to know details of the UK’s state aid regime – the rules on bailouts of struggling companies and sectors – before moving on to other areas of negotiation.

    The EU wants guarantees that the UK will not undercut its own industries.

    But British ministers insist that as an independent country, the UK should be free to set its own industrial policy.

    Mr Le Drian insisted yesterday the bloc of 27 will not buckle under pressure from London, adding: ‘On Brexit we always showed unity and proved wrong those who saw signs of an overall implosion of Europe. 

    ‘It is in staying united that we can stick to our line of a global accord.’

    But UK ministers are also confident Mr Johnson will not back down, raising the prospect of leaving without a trade deal at the end of this year unless negotiators can achieve a sudden breakthrough.

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