Brexit news: France releases British scallop trawler


France fines two British fishing boats amid row with UK

France has released a Scottish scallop trawler it impounded last week amid a post-Brexit fishing row, a British minister has confirmed.

Environment secretary George Eustice blamed the detention of the Scottish-registered Cornelis Gert Jan in Le Havre on a bureaucratic mistake.

“I understand that vessel has now been released and I think there’s going to need to be some further discussions, clearly there was an administrative error at some point,” he told Sky News.

The development comes after the UK promised to hold “intensive” fisheries talks with France, following Emmanuel Macron’s decision not to sanction the UK. If the threat had been implement, French ports would have been closed to British fishing boats and stricter customs checks would have introduced from Tuesday.

The post-Brexit row between the UK and France escalated because Paris was unhappy that Britain had not granted more fishing licences to smaller French fishing vessels.

Meanwhile, Bruno Bonnell, of the president’s En Marche! party, told the BBC on Tuesday that Boris Johnson has been “bluffing all along” on Brexit.

The French politician accused the prime minister of “continuously pretending that Brexit will have no impact, no effect, on the UK lifestyle”.

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France releases British scallop trawler

France has released a British scallop trawler it impounded last week, a British minister has confirmed.

Speaking to Sky News, environment Secretary George Eustice said the Scottish-registered Cornelis Gert Jan, which had been kept in Le Havre, has now been released. He blamed its detention on “an administrative error”.

“I understand that vessel has now been released and I think there’s going to need to be some further discussions, clearly there was an administrative error at some point,” he said.

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 08:54

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‘Smart’ motorway should not be rollout out until safety assured, say MPs

The government should pause its rollout of “smart” motorways until the safety of motorists is guaranteed, MPs have warned.

Campaigners have long called the roads “death trap highways” due to the lack of hard shoulders, which they say puts drivers at greater risks of accidents.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman, chair of the transport committee, said: “It is right we do [scrutinise] because lives have been lost and many motorists feel unsafe using them. More action is needed to demonstrate their worth.”

My colleague Adam Forrest reports:

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 08:46

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DUP push back threat to collapse Stormont over NI protocol

The DUP will not withdraw ministers from Stormont yet in protest at the Northern Ireland protocol, its leaders has said.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson had previously said he would collapse the executive at the start of November.

Explaining his decision to delay the move, he said he was prepared to give negotiations “a little more time” because they seemed to be progressing.

“It would be churlish in the face of that progress to now move precipitously in relation to what I have warned about if we don’t get the outcome that we need,” he said.

The DUP leader added that he expected “real and decisive progress” to be made within weeks.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

(Getty)

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 08:30

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PM ‘bluffing all along’ with Brexit, says French politician

A politician in Emmanuel Macron’s party has accused Boris Johnson of “bluffing all along” with Brexit.

Asked by the BBC if the prime minister has been bluffing, Bruno Bonnell, of En Marche!, said: “Of course he is, as usual, he’s been bluffing all along.”

He added that Mr Johnson has been “continuously pretending that Brexit will have no impact, no effect, on the UK lifestyle”.

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 08:10

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Eustice ‘welcomes’ de-escalation of post-Brexit row

After Emmanuel Macron, the French president, postponed introducing punitive sanctions yesterday evening, the environment secretary George Eustice said: “We welcome obviously the fact that France has stepped back from the threats that they were making last Wednesday.

“We had an agreement on fisheries that we all concluded at the end of last year — we’ve been implementing that in good faith. There’s now around 1,700 EU vessels licensed to fish in our waters.”

Asked whether it was a backdown by Paris, he replied: “It’s a decision from the French to step back from the threats that they made last Wednesday — we welcome that.

“We’ve always said we want to de-escalate this, we’ve always said we have an ever open door to discuss any further evidence the EU might have for additional vessels they want licensed,” he told Sky News.

He added of a British boat detained last week by French authorities: “I understand that that vessel has now been released.

“There’s going to need to be further discussions. There clearly was an administrative error at some point — we haven’t quite got to the bottom of that yet — but yes that vessel I understand is being released.”

Environment Secretary hails ‘welcome step’ as France backs down on British vessels ban

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 07:58

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Macron backs down on fisheries threats

For the time being, France has decided not to follow through with threats to close its ports to British fishing vessels and increase custom checks.

Emmanuel Macron said that he would see whether progress was made on fisheries talks on Tuesday.

The ongoing row between the UK and France concerns the number of fishing licences given to French fishermen to operate in British waters.

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 07:43

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Good morning, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage from Westminster and further afield. Stay tuned for the latest updates on the ongoing post-Brexit fishing dispute between the UK and France.

Rory Sullivan2 November 2021 07:40



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