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Liz Truss Threatens To Launch Legal Action In 48 Hours If France Fishing Row Isn't Resolved

3 min read

Liz Truss has told France that Britain will initiate legal action if a dispute over fishing isn't remains unresolved within 48 hours.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this morning, the Foreign Secretary said the UK “won’t roll over” in the face of “completely unwarranted” threats.

“The issue here has been sparked by French threats against our fishing fleet and also against the Channel Islands, including about their energy supply,” Truss told Radio 4.

“Those threats are completely unwarranted, we allocated the fishing licences completely in line with what is in the trade agreement with the EU,” she added.

“The French need to withdraw those threats otherwise we will use the dispute resolution mechanism in the EU deal to take action.”

The UK's row with its European neighbour centres on post-Brexit fishing licences that give the French access to UK waters.

France claims that they are not being granted a fair number of licences from the British and are accusing Boris Johnson's government of not implementing the conditions of the post-Brexit agreement.

The dispute escalated last week when France detained a British fishing boat, the Cornelis, over it reportedly not having a licence.

On Friday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex then raised the political temperature further with an explosive letter to European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen, leaked to Politico, which said the UK must stick to its legal commitments and that the EU should demonstrate it was better to be part of the bloc.

“There have been serious threats from the French,” Truss told Radio 4 this morning.

“I don’t think that is the type of rhetoric we would expect to see from a close friend and ally like France.

“I call on France to withdraw those threats. We want to make sure the licence process works properly, we’re looking at all the evidence. But we simply cannot have a situation where we’re being threatened like that.”

Speaking to Kay Burley on Sky News this morning, the Foreign Secretary confirmed that legal action under the mechanisms of the British-EU trade agreement “could lead to taking direct action in trade”.

Truss said the dispute "needs to be resolved within the next 48 hours" to avoid such measures being taken.

Speaking as the COP26 climate summit got underway this morning, Truss also described the UK's chances of success at the event as “touch and go”.

“We have a massive opportunity, and this is the biggest world leaders forum the UK has ever held," she told Sky News. 

“We’ve got a real opportunity to hold those leaders to account. Many of them in the G20 have pledged that they’re going to reach net zero by mid-century and now we need to get the details to make sure it’s actually going to happen.”

At a press conference ahead of COP26 yesterday, the Prime Minister said that "if Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails".

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