UK Tells France ‘Two Can Play That Game’ Over Brexit Fishing Row

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Trawler ‘Cornelis-Gert Jan’ detained by French authorities in the harbour of Le Havre, northern France.

The environment secretary has warned France that the UK could retaliate if they follow through on their threats in an escalating fishing row.

George Eustice said “two can play at that game” when asked what the UK government would do if France blocks borders and stops boats landing.

It comes after a British trawler was seized by France and another fined during checks off of Le Havre on Thursday. 

Eustice described France’s actions as “unacceptable” and told Sky News: “We don’t know what they’ll do, they said they wouldn’t introduce these measures until Tuesday probably at the earliest so we will see what they do.

“But if they do bring these into place, well, two can play at that game and we reserve the ability to respond in a proportionate way.”

The UK has condemned “unjustified” threats from France and summoned the country’s ambassador.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss is calling for talks, asking Catherine Colonna to explain “disappointing and disproportionate threats”.

French authorities said the detained vessel did not have a licence. However, Eustice insisted the European Union did grant a licence to the trawler and said it was “unclear” why, it was allegedly later withdrawn from the list given to the EU.

The secretary of state said Boris Johnson could raise the fishing row with Emmanuel Macron at the G20 in Rome.

He added: “There are elections coming up in France, I’ve seen suggestions that might be a factor. But we have to deal with what we’re faced with here, which is France threatening us and actions that are completely disproportionate, are not acceptable, and would be a breach of the agreement that we have with them.

“That’s why we’re going to be raising that with their ambassador, raising it with the (European) Commission.”

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