Letters: For the UK, a slap in the face with a fish supper should have ended the negotiations

Letters to the Editor
·9-min read
Fishy choice: turbot was for dinner for Boris Johnson and the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen - ImageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
Fishy choice: turbot was for dinner for Boris Johnson and the EU’s Ursula von der Leyen - ImageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo

SIR – It is clear that the EU does not want a deal. Serving a fish supper to the Prime Minister can be taken only as the diplomatic equivalent of a V-sign.

Let’s stop these pointless negotiations and play the EU and its members states at their own intransigent game. Let’s offer a large financial package to the car industry and subsidies to encourage them to on-shore their supply chains. Let’s reduce our rate of corporation tax and deliver free ports, to encourage international investment.

We should ensure the naval support is in place to assist UK fishing fleets in their own waters. As a starting point that should give the Germans, French and Irish food for thought.

Roger Gentry
Sutton-at-Hone, Kent


SIR – What on earth is the point of continuing the farce of the supposed negotiations for a Brexit trade deal?

The situation is clear: we’ve got our country back from the clutches of European bureaucrats and we mean to keep it. They, apparently, won’t accept our temerity in choosing to leave.

If Boris Johnson and the President of the European Commission couldn’t reach a decision over a three-hour dinner, then why persevere with the charade of yet more talks?

We’ve left. Get used to it, EU. No deal.

Clive Green

SIR – Our Prime Minister has failed to secure a deal with Europe. Now we, his people, do not feel safe and are not reassured about our future in these difficult times.

Penelope Whaley
Lowestoft, Suffolk


SIR – I am certainly not the only one to applaud Boris Johnson’s refusal to capitulate to the demands made by Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator. It was inevitable that the issues still being argued about now were those anticipated four and a half years ago.

These are the fundamental reasons that I and others voted for Brexit.

It only takes one of the remaining members of the EEC to scupper any deal. Unfortunately, Mr Johnson has to go through this charade to satisfy the Remainers that he did everything possible to come to an agreement.

President Emmanuel Macron is merely emulating his predecessor de Gaulle. I only wish the French had persisted in their “non” with Edward Heath.

Neville Dickinson
Morpeth, Northumberland


SIR – Mr Macron is the only head of state among the 27 EU members to criticise the UK continually and interfere in negotiations. The most intransigent member has nominated himself as the dominant representative.

Boris Johnson wanted to speak to him directly. This was met with a "non". He was told that Michel Barnier is the only representative of EU members – a fact largely respected by the rest of the bloc. It’s hard to expect any progress unless we can see the whites of the eyes of the true protagonist.

Cameron Morice
Reading, Berkshire

SIR – The Prime Minister would have gained in stature and in support from the UK population if, on Wednesday night, he had ended the talks with the EU, closed the negotiations and returned to London.

The conventional three-hour meal to agree further talks made the UK the supplicant not the decider.

The decision has already been made. Leave and leave now.

M H Sobey
Dartmouth, Devon


SIR – EU negotiators have stupidly acted in the worst interests of Europe.

Nobody needs the restrictions they have attempted to impose on the United Kingdom. Free trade between our countries has worked well over the past 45 years and can continue without the useless EU negotiators’ attempts to disrupt it.

Derek Godfrey
Holt, Norfolk


SIR – Despite his rousing rhetoric, the Prime Minister will know it is impossible both to get a deal and to retain total sovereignty. Now is the time for him to deploy his skill as a statesman to concede the minimum sovereignty to achieve a famous deal.

Brian Whittingham

SIR – If we come to agree with the EU on a level playing field, will the EU then raise its standards to ours in areas such as maternity leave, minimum wage and animal welfare?

J D Morgan
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire


SIR – I wish the Prime Minister would stop using the phrase “our friends in the EU”. Clearly they are not.

Tony Gammon
Sturry, Kent


SIR – The boss of Tesco’s should desist from his Brexit fear-mongering about the cost of brie. Somerset brie is just as good, and has a much lower carbon footprint than imported cheese.

John Barratt
Long Ashton, Somerset

New Year granny

SIR – Those who wish to protect their parents or grandparents from infection are best advised to isolate for 14 days before meeting them. Since children cannot isolate before schools close, for most families this means a 14-day period from December 18. Therefore the safest time to visit is a week after Christmas, on January 1 2021.

Michael Clark
Barrington, Cambridgeshire

SIR – If the 10,000 people believed to have caught Covid-19 while in NHS hospitals (report, December 10) had been victims of a public limited company, there would have been a police investigation and possible manslaughter charges. I am guessing that, in this case, nothing will happen.

Steve Parsons
Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire


Queen Mary’s hatchet

SIR – While the late Queen Mary loathed ivy (Letters, December 8) and destroyed it, there are good reasons not to follow her lead.

Ivy is a great place for wrens to nest, it harbours insects and has berries that garden birds relish.

An exception might be made for roadside trees, where its growth creates wind resistance, which can cause the trees to fall in storms.

Lavender Buckland
Iwerne Minster, Dorset


SIR – Are readers aware that the flowers of the ivy are among the only available winter food for bees?

This means that the consequences of stripping it away could be more serious than they first appear.

Jayne Tracey
Risby, Suffolk


A tax on the old

SIR – A levy on assets, cash and investments in excess of £500,000 to “pay for Covid” (report, December 9) would unfairly affect the elderly – whose main asset is a home with no mortgage, savings that effectively pay zero interest and modest investments that they are keeping to pay extortionate care-home fees, since (having assets in excess of £23,000) they will not be supported by their local authority or the state.

All their savings and assets have come from work or investments on which tax has already been paid, so this is an additional tax on them that they may not have the resources to pay. Those of high wealth will have offshore accounts protected from such measures, or will move to tax havens.

Keith Taylor
Hinton Cantiacorum, Herefordshire


BA and refunds

SIR – I was astonished to read (Business, December 5) that BA said Heathrow Airport “should seek funds from shareholders rather than asking consumers to bail it out”.

As a consumer who is still awaiting a refund for a long-haul flight – cancelled by BA in March – I wish the company would practise what it preaches.

Seán Bellew
London W12


Christmas box

SIR – It was Sir Keith Joseph, in 1972, who granted the elderly £10 at Christmas, not John Major (Letters, December 10). I once met the lady in Kent who suggested it to him.

Madeleine Pedder
Sidmouth, Devon


Abortion at home should continue in future

SIR – We wish to express our concern about Philippa Stroud’s suggestion (Comment, December 9) that early medical abortions at home are a “terrible idea”.

As a Royal College advocating for women’s health worldwide, we want to stress that allowing the use at home of the two pills required for an early medical abortion has created a safer, more effective, and – crucially – a kinder service for women.

More than 40,000 women have now had an early medical abortion at home and early data shows that complications have decreased since its introduction.

At the start of the pandemic, 500 women a day were travelling to a clinic, sometimes long distances, for abortion care, risking transmission of Covid-19 to themselves, their families and healthcare professionals.

Since this change in regulation, waiting times have fallen and women can receive care much earlier in their pregnancy. Women report feeling more comfortable disclosing information over a telephone or video call, so safeguarding reports have either remained stable or increased.

Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal ruled that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was, under the law, empowered to make this change to abortion services, and the Government is now consulting on making this measure permanent.

This is one of the few success stories of the pandemic and should remain in place.

Edward Morris
President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
London SE1


I do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom

SIR – Letters on road names (December 10) reminded me of when I lived in Cheltenham and a visitor asked the way to the Promenade. I told him and was then asked: “And where is the beach?” I gave directions to Weston-super-Mare.

Ian Browne


SIR – Bythesea Road in Trowbridge (Letters, December 10) is named, not after the sea, but after the owner of the land on which it was built in 1895, Samuel Bythesea of Freshford in Somerset, whose family had lived in Wiltshire’s county town.

Bruce Chalmers
Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex


SIR – Why don’t developers look at tithe maps, which show ancient field names, and would at least allow for some originality in naming streets?

The field at the bottom of my garden, recently concreted over, was historically known as the Great Hogspark (a hog in this part of the country being a year-old sheep). What did they name it? Poets Meadow. I know which name I prefer.

Mike Parker
Rugby, Warwickshire


SIR – On new developments in Tenterden, known as Three Fields and Church View, the roads are named after local families who lost relatives in the First and Second World Wars. Each name board has the poppy on it.

Caroline Salmon
Tenterden, Kent


Letters to the Editor

We accept letters by post, fax and email only. Please include name, address, work and home telephone numbers.

ADDRESS: 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 0DT

FAX: 020 7931 2878

EMAIL: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk

FOLLOW: Telegraph Letters on Twitter @LettersDesk