Brexit saga 'worst handling of any event since Suez' says party leader as Fishing For Leave flotilla sets sail on the River Tyne

The leader of the Brexit Party has said the way leaving the EU has been handled is worse than anything since the Suez Crisis.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 11:18 am
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 1:38 pm
Fishing For Leave protestors protest against the Prime Minister's Brexit plans on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

Catherine Blaiklock was speaking on the River Tyne in Newcastle, where she joined the Fishing For Leave flotilla protest over Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans.

It comes the day before former Ukip leader Nigel Farage starts out on his March To Leave, from Sunderland to London.

Fishermen's protest. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

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Ms Blaiklock said: "It is 1,000 days on Tuesday since the referendum.

"They have had plenty of time to prepare everything, there has been an absolute wanton failure to prepare.

"People think it is laughable, pathetic, even people who voted Remain, who are weak Remainers, think it has been disastrous handling.

"It's the worst handling of any event since Suez.

Fishing vessels display a pro-Brexit flags during a protest at Newcastle Quayside. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

"Three years (since the referendum) ... zero progress."

She compared the situation to an Olympic Games where the athletes turn up with days to go and no stadia have been built.

She added: "We had three years to prepare, it's a catastrophic failure of the Government, of MPs - you couldn't script it."

The flotilla of 12 trawlers made its way up the choppy waters of the Tyne, while a battered boat was driven on the back of a lorry by road, before they met at Newcastle's Quayside.

Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A Fishing For Leave spokesman said: "The terms of the Withdrawal Agreement are an existential threat to fishing and a total betrayal of Brexit and Britain.

"It means a second surrender of our industry and coastal communities and places a constitutional bomb under democracy."

The last trawler to leave let off a volley of fireworks into the blue sky as it cast off from the Quayside and headed back down river.

The noisy display lasted more than two minutes and echoed around the office blocks beside the Millennium Bridge.

Fishermen's protest. Picture by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire