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The meeting is an indication that the stand-off has been pushed to the top of the political agenda and that the post-Brexit row is acting as a distraction from the PM’s main priority at the summit – to rally world leaders behind action on climate change at next week’s Cop26.
Downing Street said Britain’s objections to France’s threats will also be raised by Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton at a meeting with French ambassador Catherine Colonna in London this afternoon.
It comes as the captain of the British scallop trawler detained in France was summoned to appear in court on 11 August next year. Cyrille Fournier, the deputy prosecutor of Le Havre, where the boat is being kept, said its skipper was accused of operating in French territorial waters without a valid permit.
Scottish seafood giant Macduff Shellfish, which owns the vessel, has repeated its claims all its activity was entirely legal.
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Call to ban supertrawlers – but EU diplomats back France
Veteran Tory MP John Redwood has called for the UK to get tough over fishing rights and ban supertrawlers from damaging fishing grounds and “taking too many of our fish”.
But EU diplomats back France in the fishing dispute and have no sympathy with the UK, according to a Sky News correspondent.
French fishermen angry at Brexit
Fishermen in France’s biggest fishing port say Brexit is a “big problem” and blamed politicians for the escalating row with the UK.
In Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the northern French coast, some of the fleet have been unable to fish in British waters following Brexit, locals say.
Fisherman Kurt Bigot said he was angry, pointing to boats in the harbour that had been refused new licences to fish in UK waters. “It’s a big problem,” he added.
Mr Bigot’s crewmate agreed, telling PA: “There’s good friendship between England and France, good (between) fishermen.
“But politics (between) France and England – bad.”
UK boats steer clear of Le Havre
British fishermen may be avoiding sailing too close to France amid the debacle.
There are very few UK-registered boats off the French coast, and none near Le Havre, where the Cornelis Gert Jan is being held, according to a Dutch journalist.
Watch: Eustice condemns France’s ‘unjustified’ threats
Detained ship’s crew advised to stay on board ‘for own safety’
More from Le Havre now, where the detained British boat is being kept.
The vessel’s crew, detained by French authorities, have been advised to stay onboard for their own safety as tensions continue to escalate.
Andrew Brown, head of public affairs for MacDuff Shellfish, which owns the vessel, said that despite the situation the fishermen’s spirits remained good.
Mr Brown said there was a “coordinated effort” across the UK government to return the vessel and crew home.
“Obviously our first priority is to get the crew, the captain and the vessel out of the port and back to the UK,” he told PA. “We are engaging all efforts to do so.”
He added that colleagues involved in the fleet had been in regular contact with the crew and they were believed to still be comfortable.
The Cornelis Gert Jan boat is being detained near Le Havre, in northern France.
PM to discuss fishing row with Macron in Rome
Our political editor Andrew Woodcock reports the following:
Boris Johnson is to discuss the ongoing row over fishing with French president Emmanuel Macron in a “brush-by” meeting at the G20 summit in Rome this weekend, Downing Street has said.
The meeting is an indication that the stand-off has been pushed to the top of the political agenda as a Tuesday deadline approaches for France to implement measures in retaliation for what Paris claims is unfair treatment of its fishermen.
The meeting, expected to take place on Sunday morning, indicates how the dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights is acting as a distraction from Mr Johnson’s main priority at the summit – to rally world leaders behind action on climate change at next week’s Cop26 gathering in Glasgow.
Downing Street said that the UK’s objections will also be raised by Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton at a meeting with French ambassador Catherine Colonna this afternoon.
But No 10 brushed off suggestions that the dispute could lead to a trade war, telling reporters: “We are working through diplomatic channels to discuss this issue with the French.
“France remains an important ally and partner and that continues to be the case.”
The detention of a Scottish-registered fishing vessel, whose Irish skipper has been charged with operating in French waters without the correct licence, is being treated by the UK as a separate issue, said No 10.
Three British crew members remain on board the vessel, and the UK’s priority is to ensure their safety and welfare, said a spokesperson, adding: “We stand ready to provide consular assistance if required.”
How a small Scottish trawler reignited a major post-Brexit feud
Britain and France once again find themselves at loggerheads over post-Brexit fishing rights in the English Channel.
The latest instalment of the feud kicked off on Wednesday when French maritime authorities seized a Scottish scallop trawler, the Cornelis-Gert Jan, and detained it at the port of Le Harve in Normandy, accusing it of fishing without a licence and fining a second boat for obstructing vessel checks.
The trawler is own ed by Macduff Shellfish out of Dumfries and Andrew Brown, the company’s director of sustainability and public affairs, responded by saying: “It appears our vessel has been caught up in the ongoing dispute between the UK and France on the implementation of the Brexit Fishing Agreement.”
So, what does it all mean? Joe Sommerlad takes a closer look.
Cornelis detention at Le Harve just the latest chapter in long-running tensions along English Channel
Watch: UK warns ‘two can play at that game’ if France imposes fishing sanctions
Zaghari Ratcliffe’s husband vows to continue hunger strike
Following my earlier post (9.33am), Richard Ratcliffe has said he will continue his hunger strike outside Whitehall following a “frustrating” meeting with the foreign secretary.
The husband of jailed British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who began the protest on Sunday, said Liz Truss must be “brave” in order to secure the release of his wife, who has been detained in Iran on spying charges since 2016.
He admitted he and his team had been left frustrated by the outcome of a meeting with the foreign secretary to discuss further strategy around attempts to free Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, but said Ms Truss had been “open to things”.
Speaking after the meeting, which took place yesterday, he said:
“The meeting went as I feared it might in the fact that the foreign secretary didn’t actually give us anything new.
“I think we all came away feeling a bit frustrated. The problem is not the minister caring… but in the end the policy approach wasn’t changing.”
Chiara Giordano has more:
Richard Ratcliffe remains camped outside Foreign Office following ‘frustrating’ meeting with Liz Truss
Following my last post, here’s Zoe Tidman, in Le Havre, with more on the Cornelius’ captain being summoned to court.
Boat still sat in harbour two days after it was detained