FEARS that the EU27 might demand greater access to UK fishing waters by threatening to withhold ratification of the entire future trade deal with the UK have been raised by Lord Barwell, Theresa May’s former Chief of Staff.

The Tory peer claimed a deal on fishing rights would have to be done by the autumn if, as Boris Johnson has insisted, Britain will leave the transition period with Brussels by December.

He warned: “The EU doesn’t believe we can do the entire future relationship by the summer and, therefore, we’re going to have to prioritise. My fear is that gets you back into what we had in the first phase of the negotiations where the EU puts pressure to do things most important to it…

“The fear among the fishing industry - that fishing will be traded off - is a very acute one because they feel that is what happened exactly in the negotiations when we originally joined the EU[in the 1970s].”

Lord Barwell told the BBC: “This is the most difficult issue because it will be very difficult for the UK to compromise on the principle. But any deal[has to be] ratified by all of the national parliaments, almost certainly, and if they lose access to the waters, are they going to realistically ratify the deal?”

The Prime Minister and his colleagues have been adamant Britain will become an independent coastal state with full control over its waters by the end of the year.

However, some EU states like France, Spain and Denmark are intent on fighting to maximise their access to them.

Last month, Mette Frederiksen, the Danish premier, insisted: “When it comes to Brexit, fishing is particularly important for Denmark because it is a profession that depends on good co-operation with the countries that share the same fishing area,” she said.

Meanwhile, peers set themselves on a collision course with the Commons after inflicting five defeats on Boris Johnson's Brexit Bill.

After three defeats on Monday, the Lords backed two more amendments to the legislation, backing:

*a move to ensure the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit and

*a move – by just four votes - underlining the commitment to the so-called Sewel Convention, which states the UK Parliament "will not normally" legislate for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislature affected.

The Government’s latest defeat came as the SNP’s Ian Blackford formally requested the right to attend any meeting of the Privy Council held to grant Royal Assent to the bill to enable him to protest in person at the measure becoming law.

In a letter to Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is President of the Council, the Nationalist leader at Westminster pointed out how the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Sennedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly had all withheld their consent to the bill.

Passing it into law without the legislative consent of the three legislatures would be a “serious breach of the letter and spirit of the Sewel Convention, which has underpinned devolution on these islands for the past 20 years,” declared Mr Blackford.