A British fisherman has expressed his regret over voting for Brexit during an appearance on Danish TV.
Ian Perkes, a fish exporter from Brixham, Devon, told Danish broadcaster DR that he had been “lied to” about the implications of leaving the EU and the increased costs to business.
He said: “Do you think I would have voted to leave if I’d known it was going to cost me another £80,000 a year? Of course not. Only a fool would have voted to go out, wouldn’t he, knowing that.”
Asked if he had been lied to, Perkes responded: “Well we were lied to. We were told we are going to have free trade, we were not guaranteed we were going to get our 12-mile limit back, but we assumed with what we were reading and what we were being told that that would be a case.”
Asked what he would tell his former self in the ballot box in 2016, he replied: “Don’t be a fool, stay in Europe. Why would you want to leave? Life has become very difficult since we’ve left and I don’t see no happy ending at present.
“So yeah I did get it wrong, hands up, I admitted I was wrong, but I’m not an isolated case.”
Perkes previously told the Daily Express that his sales had declined from £375,000 in January 2020 to £74,000 in January this year.
Fishing contributes less than 1% to Britain’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but became important symbolically for Brexiteers who wanted to regain control of fishing waters.
Since leaving the trading-bloc, fishermen have complained about additional red-tape when exporting to the EU.
On January 18 fishing industry workers descended on Whitehall to protest Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and drove lorries around Whitehall emblazoned with “Brexit Carnage” and “Incompetent Government Destroying Shellfish Industry.”
Environment secretary George Eustice has since admitted the deal fell “short” of industry expectations.