Back off Macron! Stand up to France by banning fishing vessels, Boris told

David Frost: EU sometimes appears to 'not want' UK success

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But former MEP Ben Habib has branded Brexit Minister Lord David Frost “Lord Timid” for his response – while accusing him of a “very poor choice of words”. Lord Frost was commenting after France released a list of sanctions that could come into effect from November 2 unless enough progress is made in its post-Brexit fishing row with Britain, and said it was working on a second round of sanctions which could affect power supplies to the UK.

He retweeted a UK Government statement which described what it called “the threats from France” as “disappointing and disproportionate, stressing they “do correspond to what one would expect from a close ally and partner.”

Lord Frost himself commented: “It is very disappointing that France has felt it necessary to make threats late this evening against the UK fishing industry and seemingly traders more broadly.”

Meanwhile the UK Government has threatened to retaliate should France impose sanctions on British fishing vessels, amid reports that one has been detained.

However, Mr Habib suggested the time for threats was over – and urged both Lord Frost and Mr Johnson to act.

He told Express.co.uk: “It is time to face up to the French.

“They cannot be allowed to impound our boats and get away with it.

Lord Frost expressing disappointment and thinking their action is disproportionate “is itself disappointing and inadequate”, stressed Mr Habib.

He added: “But that should not be a surprise. Lord Frost is Lord Timid.

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“He seems unable firmly to stand up for British interests.

“Had he stood up to the French last year and refused to allow them unfettered access to our territorial waters, as the Prime Minister had repeatedly promised, this dispute simply would not have arisen.”

Mr Habib warned: “The French now behave as if our waters are theirs.

“Indeed, suggesting the French action is disproportionate implies that we have done some wrong.

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Expressing British disquiet meekly as if over a cup of tea with cucumber sandwiches will have nil impact across the Channel

Ben Habib

“It is France that is guilty of breaking international law, not the United Kingdom.

“Expressing British disquiet meekly as if over a cup of tea with cucumber sandwiches will have nil impact across the Channel.

“The French will not take a blind bit of notice of us unless and until we stand up for ourselves.

“All French fishing boats should be banned from British waters. That ought to do it.”

A UK Government spokesman said on Wednesday: “We will be relaying our concerns to the EU Commission and French government.

“The UK stands by its commitments in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and has granted 98 percent of licence applications from EU vessels to fish in our waters.

“All our decisions have been fully in line with this commitment,

“We also support Jersey and Guernsey’s handling of fisheries licensing decisions, which has been entirely in line with the provisions of the TCA.”

Also on Wednesday, Clement Beaune, a close ally of France’s President Emmanuel Macron, told French TV news channel CNews: “We have been extremely patient.

“Our fishermen have been extremely responsible.

“And so, from November 2, it’s over: we will engage in dialogue if the British want to, but we are taking retaliatory measures.”

He added: “Now we need to speak the language of force because, unfortunately, that seems to be the only thing this British Government understands.”

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