Boris Johnson tells Macron he has ‘a bigger fish to whip’ than trawlers as he braces for G20 clash
BORIS Johnson warned Emmanuel Macron that he had “a bigger fish to whip” than to wage war on trawlers.
The prime minister has threatened legal action over the fishing dispute as he prepares for a clash with the French president at the G20 summit in Rome.
The head of the port of Calais today warned Britain of a “disaster” if Mr. Macron blocks British trawlers from French ports.
France last night begged the rest of the EU to join its fishing war against Britain as punishment for Brexit.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Brussels must join its campaign against the UK to keep the bloc united.
Mr Macron’s deputy wrote an explosive letter to Chief Eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen urging him to act.
Today’s G20 meeting comes four months after Mr Macron and Mr Johnson clashed at the G7 Brexit summit.
Asked by The i about meeting the French leader again, Mr Johsnon said: “It’s about fish rather than sausage this time, I don’t know if it’s an improvement.
“In fact, there are bigger fish to whip, everyone knows that. Am I worried about this?
“The answer is no.”
Speaking this morning, Mr Johnson warned Britain could trigger legal repercussions in the post-Brexit trade deal next week on the line.
In this letter addressed to Ursula von der Leyen, the big bonnet of Brussels, Mr Castex said: “It is essential to clearly show Europeans that it is not negotiable to honor their commitments and that there is it is more difficult to leave the EU than to stay “.
The threat sparked fury in Downing Street and a backlash from Tory MPs.
Anthony Mangnall, for the fishing community of Brixham, replied: “This is totally unacceptable.
“The French should not behave this way.
“We are happy to work with them, but not if they behave this way.”
Germany and Brussels have already slapped President Macron in the face and urged him not to drag the EU into a new feud.
Meanwhile, as authorities across the Channel indicted a British skipper for fishing in their waters without a license, Boris Johnson vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to protect our fisherman from the French.
NAVY ON STANDBY
And the Royal Navy has been put on hold.
In May, the Prime Minister sent two Navy patrol boats, HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, to protect Jersey after French ships blocked the port.
He will now tell Mr Macron today to put the brakes on his goby ministers to avoid an all-out fishing war as the two leaders come face to face for a showdown at the G20 summit.
As tensions threaten to boil over, the prime minister has said he will try to force the French president to step back from the brink. But he warned the boastful French that he was ready to do anything to protect our fishing boats.
And the rampaging British ministers threatened to bog down French fishing vessels in bureaucracy – including forcing them to land their catches on our shores – if Paris refused to back down.
Made like a s-kipper
By Amir Razavi, in Le Havre, France
FRANCE sparked more fury yesterday as a captain of an impounded British scallop trawler was accused of “unauthorized fishing”.
As the bitter cross-Channel trade war escalated, he found himself trapped on the ship with his crew – unsure of when they will be released.
The bearded man, stunned by the publicity, has been given a subpoena but will not appear in court until next August – and faces a fine of £ 63,000 if convicted.
It is claimed that his vessel Cornelis Gert Jan fished in the French exclusive economic zone without a license.
The crew were ordered to stay on the boat in Le Havre, “for their own safety”.
One of them smiled as he collected Union Jack mugs and a bottle of scotch from the supporters.
The highly controversial move comes after Foreign Minister Liz Truss summoned French Ambassador Catherine Colonna to her office and Paris lambasted the government.
Speaking on the plane to Rome last night, Mr Johnson said: ‘We will do whatever is necessary to secure the interests of the UK.’ The prime minister has vowed to face Mr Macron in Rome today and will urge his counterpart to remember that Britain is a close ally of France – not an enemy.
But in one blow, Mr Johnson said: “We are concerned that there is a violation of the terms of the trade cooperation agreement.” He added: “Obviously, we will remain ready to take the appropriate measures.”
He and Mr. Macron are meeting, with US President Joe Biden, to discuss the crisis in Iran.
The couple will then reunite again on Sunday when Mr Johnson is set to face Mr Macron over France’s behavior.
Environment Secretary George Eustice, meanwhile, warned that “two can play this game” as he threatened to ban French boats and tie his trawlers to paperwork.
He also suggested that Mr Macron had let the fishing wars break out to play French nationalist voters ahead of next year’s elections.