UK must engage in talks ‘constructively,’ Frost told – live
George Eustice condemns France’s ‘unjustified’ threats amid fishing rights row
Following a pre-arranged meeting to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol, an EU spokesman said Maros Sefcovic used the tete-a-tete to tell Britain’s Brexit minister “all French vessels entitled to a licence should receive one”.
A UK government spokesperson said in response, Lord Frost had warned Mr Sefcovic France would be in breach of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) if proposed sanctions to disrupt British fishing boats went ahead next week, and ministers could launch “dispute settlement proceedings” as a result.
It comes after the captain of the British scallop trawler still detained in France was summoned to appear in court on 11 August next year. 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.
But Scottish seafood giant Macduff Shellfish, which owns the vessel, said all its activity was “entirely legal”.
Follow our live coverage below
Summoned French ambassador arrives in Whitehall
France’s UK ambassador has travelled to the Foreign Office after being summoned there by the British government.
Catherine Colonna arrived in Whitehall just before 5pm.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss wants her “to explain the disappointing and disproportionate threats made against the UK and Channel Islands”.
Rory Sullivan29 October 2021 17:27
Sturgeon accuses Johnson of ‘fragile male ego’
Nicola Sturgeon has said Boris Johnson’s stance towards devolved governments could be the result of a “fragile male ego”.
She told Vogue magazine that most of her interactions with the British government were through communities secretary Michael Gove.
Noting how Mr Johnson’s approach was “different” to his predecessors, she added “Maybe it’s just a bit of a fragile male ego.”
“He seems to have a disinclination to be, metaphorically speaking, in the same room as me. It’s odd.”
Rory Sullivan29 October 2021 17:03
UK threatens to increase checks on EU vessels
The UK will increase “rigorous” checks on EU ships if France continues to escalate a post-Brexit fishing dispute, the government has said.
Brexit minister David Frost spoke to his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic in London about France’s threats to “disrupt UK fisheries and wider trade” amid the ongoing row, a government spokesperson said.
They added that ministers could implement “rigorous enforcement processes and checks on EU fishing activity in UK territorial waters” in response to France’s actions.
Rory Sullivan29 October 2021 16:29
‘Substantial’ way to go in bid to fix NI Protocol, admits No 10
An update on the NI Protocol now. Downing Street said the distance is still “substantial” between the UK and the EU in their bid to find a resolution on the post-Brexit measure.
It follows a meeting in London between Lord Frost and Maros Sefcovic.
“The week’s talks have been conducted in a constructive spirit. While there is some overlap between our positions on a subset of the issues, the gaps between us remain substantial,” a UK government spokesman said following the talks.
He added: “Our position remains that substantial changes to the protocol will be needed if we are to find a sustainable solution that works in the best interests of Northern Ireland and supports the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Lord Frost and the vice president, and their teams, will meet again in Brussels next week.”
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 16:04
Following my last post, here’s our political editor Andrew Woodcock with more detail on the meeting between Lord Frost and Maros Sefcovic.
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 15:49
Frost says UK could launch ‘dispute settlement proceedings’ against France
More from Lord Frost’s meeting with Maros Sefcovic now. Britain’s Brexit minister told the EU the UK government could launch “dispute settlement proceedings” if France goes ahead with its threats over the fishing row.
A UK Government spokesman said:
“Lord Frost also set out to the vice president our concerns about the unjustified measures announced by France earlier this week to disrupt UK fisheries and wider trade, to threaten energy supplies, and to block further co-operation between the UK and the EU, for example on the Horizon research programme.
“Lord Frost made clear that, if these actions were implemented as planned on 2 November, they would put the European Union in breach of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
“The government is accordingly considering the possibility, in those circumstances, of launching dispute settlement proceedings under the TCA, and of other practical responses, including implementing rigorous enforcement processes and checks on EU fishing activity in UK territorial waters, within the terms of the TCA.”
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 15:36
Frost and Sefcovic discuss fishing row at meeting in London
Back to the fishing row now. Brexit minister David Frost and European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic have discussed the ongoing dispute between the UK and France today.
Following a pre-arranged meeting in London, to discuss the Northern Ireland Protocol, a European Commission spokesman said Mr Sefcovic had urged the UK to “engage constructively” with proposals over the post-Brexit agreement.
“In addition, the vice president encouraged the UK to intensify discussions with the European Commission and France in order to swiftly resolve the issue of pending fishing licences. All French vessels entitled to a licence should receive one,” the spokesman said.
“Discussions on the protocol will continue next week. The vice president and David Frost will meet in Brussels on 5 November.”
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 15:07
Watch: Nick Clegg features in bizarre cameo in Facebook metaverse video
Nick Clegg features in bizarre cameo in Facebook’s metaverse video
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 15:05
Campaigners hail govt pledge to tackle menopause taboo
Some non-Brexit related news now. Campaigners have celebrated the government’s pledge to act to help break the menopause taboo at a rally outside Parliament.
MPs and TV personalities including Davina McCall, Penny Lancaster and Mariella Frostrup were among the crowd in Parliament Square.
They all cheered the government’s announcement that the cost of repeat prescriptions for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for those experiencing symptoms of the menopause in England will be significantly reduced.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who tabled the Menopause (Support and Services) Bill, said she was “really, really pleased” with the move.
“It’s only the beginning, there’s a long way to go but we’ve made a huge step forward today for women.
“It was the right thing to do and we know that women from now on will be taken seriously and that the menopause will not be something that we’ll hide under the carpet any longer.”
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 14:53
Post-Brexit payments risk putting farmers out of business – MPs
MPs are warning that “insufficient care” in changes to how farmers receive subsidies has led to a “haphazard” transition process, risking livelihoods.
After Brexit, the government is replacing the EU’s agricultural subsidies with a new payment system designed to help farmers while also boosting biodiversity, protecting soils and improving access to land, reports our environment correspondent Harry Cockburn.
While the old EU system largely paid farmers based on the area of land they farmed, there are concerns the new system, known as the Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, could inadvertently put greater pressures on farmers to extract money from their land.
Sam Hancock29 October 2021 14:20