MICHAEL Gove has rejected angry claims from Britain’s fishermen that they will be worse off as a result of the post-Brexit trade deal struck with the EU.

Fishermen’s leaders have accused Boris Johnson of “betraying” the industry over the compromise struck with Brussels over future fishing rights in UK waters.

However, the Cabinet Office Minister insisted they would get a greater share of the fish in UK waters and that could increase over time.

“It is fair to say that we are in a stronger position than we were in the EU and in the common fisheries policy,” Mr Gove told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.

“In the common fisheries policy we were only able to access about 50% of the fish in our waters. It is the case that we are now getting a significant uptick in that number, so we will have by 2026 about two-thirds of the fish in our waters.

“This staged process gives us a chance to increase the size of the fleet, to invest in our coastal communities, and, of course, in due course we will have that opportunity to increase that quota even further.”

However, Andrew Locker, who chairs the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said the sector would be “absolutely worse off” as a result of the deal.

“I am angry, disappointed and betrayed,” declared Mr Locker. “Boris Johnson promised us the rights to all the fish that swim in our exclusive economic zone and we have got a fraction of that.”

He went on: “We are absolutely worse off. When we were within the EU, we used to trade fish with the EU. We used to swap things we didn’t use with fish that they didn’t use and that enabled us to put together an annual fishing plan.

“What we have got now is a fraction of that we were promised through Brexit. We are going to really, really struggle this year.”

Mr Locker added: “When Boris Johnson and his Government promised Brexit to the fishermen he promised none of us would be worse off. There is a considerable number of fishermen – small families, small communities – absolutely worse off by this deal.”