Liz Truss demanded that Emmanuel Macron’stops threatening Britain’ over the bitter rights row in fishing.

The deadline for small boats to be licensed for UK waters was rejected by the Foreign Secretary.

Instead, she argued that Paris is under pressure because the government is ready and able to take action for breaches of the post Brexit trade deal.

Ms Truss also ran the risk of inflaming the conflict as Mr Macron attends COP26 in Glasgow. This suggests that he is merely attacking Britain in the hope that it will help his re-election prospects.  

French officials warned that they will block UK fishing boats from certain ports, and tighten customs inspections on lorries entering Britain with British goods starting tomorrow. This is unless more licences for their small boats to fish the British. 

Other threats include a slowdown at customs and increased tariffs for energy bills in Jersey. However, boats are being granted permits at an increasing rate. The UK stressed that only those who can show a history fishing in waters before Brexit will continue to be allowed to have their permits.  

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (pictured at COP today) rejected the deadline set by the French president of tomorrow for more small boats to be granted licences for UK waters

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (pictured today at COP) has rejected the deadline set tomorrow by the French president for smaller boats to be granted licenses in the UK.

Emmanuel Macron

Boris Johnson at the COP summit today

Emmanuel Macron (pictured left at G20) insists that Boris Johnson (pictured right today at the COP summit) must resign in the dispute over fishing rights. 

The Cornelis Gert Jan, a British trawler, was seized by French authorities last week at the port in Le Havre

French authorities took possession of the Cornelis Get Jan, a British fishing boat, last week at Le Havre’s port.

Ms Truss answered Sky News’ questions about whether France and Britain had reached an agreement. She said that the French had made unreasonable threats to our fishing industry, and they needed to withdraw those threats. Otherwise, we will use the mechanisms in our trade agreement with EU to take action.

She said that the action would involve using the post-Brexit dispute settlement mechanism to seek compensatory measures’.

She said, “That’s what we will do if they don’t backdown,”

“Stop threatening UK fishing vessels and Channel ports, and accept that we are fully within our rights to allocate fishing licenses in accordance with the trade agreement.”

She stated that she would ‘absolutely” take legal action in the following days if France doesn’t back down on threats.

She said, “We are not going to just surrender to these threats.” 

Ms Truss suggested that Mr Macron could be making ‘unreasonable threats’ because of the approaching election. 

She stated, “You might say that there’s an election in France,” 

After a day of extraordinary briefing, Mr Macron and Boris Johnson attended G20 Summit in Rome, the French premier insisted that Britain is the winner and that reprisals will be carried out.  

Paris claimed in an initial briefing that Mr Johnson and Mr Macron had reached an agreement on de-escalation after 30 minutes of negotiations at the margins. 

As the pair attempted to come to an understanding one on one, there were no officials or cameras. 

Johnson rejected this version. He said that he considered Macron a friend, but that they had a frank and wide-ranging discussion. He stated, “On fish I have to tell ya the position remains unchanged.”   

Johnson claimed that he was “puzzled” by a letter sent from Jean Castex, French prime minister, to Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission. In which Mr Castex stated that the UK would do more harm if it left the EU than if it stayed in.

Johnson stated at a G20 press conference that he was unable to speak for fish. For the record, let me just say this. I was puzzled when I read a letter written by the French Prime Minister asking for Britain to be punished for leaving EU.

“I just want to say to everyone that I don’t believe that this is compatible either with both the spirit or letter of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation agreement. That’s probably all that I’ll say about it.”

But Mr Macron said that Britain is the one who has to move. 

The PM’s spokesperson stated earlier that France would have to decide whether to back down from the threats.

“We stand ready to respond should they proceed to break the Brexit agreement,” the spokesperson said.  

After the talks, a French aide stated to Reuters: ‘The goal for both President and Prime Minister was to work towards deescalation.  

According to French sources, the two sides reached an agreement on ‘operational steps’ to end the row in the coming days.  

What is the fishing row in France and the UK about?

– How did Brexit ignite the fishing feud?

The UK left the EU in 1970, and the common fisheries policies that allowed its members access to all European waters, excluding the first 12 miles of each country’s coastline, was also abandoned.

The Brexit agreement outlined how EU vessels could continue to fish in UK waterways, but British fishermen would be entitled to a greater share from the catch from those waters.

The majority of the share will be transferred to the UK in this year’s fiscal year. Annual negotiations will take place to determine how the catch is divided going forward.

– What has caused this to exacerbate tensions with France 

The rollout of the post-Brexit arrangements has caused a row, with Paris accusing the UK of failing to grant permission to every eligible French boat to fish in British waters. 

But the UK is adamant that it is following the terms of the Brexit deal which requires trawlers to provide historical GPS data to prove they worked in those waters before  Brexit. 

Some vessels were unable or unwilling to provide this data, which resulted in their applications being denied for a licence. 

France claims that 98% of EU fishing license requests have been granted, despite the Government insisting otherwise. 

France: What are they threatening to do? 

French ministers have warned British boats will be blocked from French ports, and they will tighten inspections of vessels travelling between France & the UK if the dispute over fishing licences is not resolved by Tuesday next.

Clement Beaune from France, France’s Europe Minister, stated to French TV news channel CNews, “We have been extremely patient.” Our fishermen have been very responsible. So, it’s over. We will engage in dialog if the British wish to, but we are taking retaliatory steps. 

– How has the UK responded to this question?

George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said that the French threats could breach the terms of the Brexit deal as well as EU law.

He warned that the UK would react in an ‘appropriately calibrated’ way if they were implemented. 

The UK Government is calling for ‘calm’, with the Foreign Office summoning the French ambassador to explain the actions taken by Paris. 

– Why was the British Trawler Detained?

After French authorities claimed that Cornelis was fishing in French waters, the scallop vessel was directed to divert to Le Havre.

French officials claimed that another British fishing boat had been fined by the French for obstruction after refusing permission to police to board it to carry out checks.

Macduff Shellfish was the Cornelis owner and claimed that the vessel had been legally fishing in French waters. She called on the British Government for protection of British fishermen.