Farage urges Boris to issue ultimatum to 'furious' Macron
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Andrew Rosindell further suggested Boris Johnson should consider a wide-ranging review of Franco-British relations unless the situation improves soon. Mr Rosindell was speaking at the end of a fortnight in which a flurry of French politicians have issued belligerent statements in reaction to the UK offering just 12 out of a possible 47 licences to smaller French fishing boats.
In a move which has further angered Paris, in specific relation to the Channel Island of Jersey, authorities have refused to grant fishing licences to 75 French fishing vessels to access its waters from October 30.
Annick Girardin, France’s Maritime Minister subsequently accused Mr Johnson’s Government of “dragging their feet or failing to live up to their commitments” – warning retaliation could involve energy supplies, educational exchanges, trade flows and rail links.
Furthermore, the UK Government this week confirmed the shipment of Covid jabs developed by AstraZeneca in conjunction with Oxford University, which had been expected to arrive in Britain from the company’s Halix site in Holland in March, had instead been diverted to EU countries instead after Mr Macron’s intervention.
Recent reports in the media have confirmed that France is increasingly acting like a hostile state towards the UK
Mr Rosindell, the Tory MP for Romford, said: “Recent reports in the media have confirmed that France is increasingly acting like a hostile state towards the UK.
“In just the past few weeks we have seen France threaten to cut energy supplies to the UK and the Channel Islands as well as well-founded accusations that France stole five million doses of coronavirus vaccines destined for the UK.
Mr Rosindell, a member of the European Research Group (ERG), added: “Alongside its petulant response to the AUKUS announcement, and its ongoing and undimmed outrage at our departure from the European Union, we now face a Government in Paris which seems to have little interest in positive relations with us.
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“The great irony is that it was the French in the 1950s and 1960s who fought a long campaign to prevent our entry into the newly formed European institutions.”
With Britain now reconfiguring its foreign policy “as an independent, free, sovereign nation”, Mr Rosindell urged the Government to take a long hard look at how France fitted in, particularly in the context of the Integrated Review of Britain’s defence capabilities.
He explained: “The Integrated Review describes our relationship with France as ‘a deep and long-standing security and defence partnership with France, underpinned by the Lancaster House treaties and exemplified by our Combined Joint Expeditionary Force’.
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“France’s recent behaviour makes a mockery of this depiction.
“It is time for the Government to be clear with France: we have friends across Europe, the Commonwealth and indeed the world.
“France is not as important as it thinks it is.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk yesterday, Mr Rosindell’s Tory colleague, David Jones, MP for Clwyd West, suggested Mr Macron was bashing the British for strategic electoral purposes.
He said: “The truth is that M Macron is desperately worried about next year’s French presidential election and he considers it politically expedient to try to bash the Brits.
“Sadly for him, he appears to be having little impact, with public opinion polls showing net disapproval for his performance.
“A recent poll showed an approval rating of only 29 percent, suggesting that his apparently tough stance is having no impact with French voters and that his days in the Elysee Palace may well be numbered.”
Speaking last week, French Government spokesman Gabriel Attal claimed an “enormous amount of work has been done” to provide the requested information in order to obtain fishing licences for small vessels.
He added: “We have given all the justifications, we have taken all the measures so that the agreement could be respected.
“We will keep on working with the European Commission and even amplify it to make progress on this issue, to seek a solution, and also to explore possible retaliatory measures that could be taken, should the agreement not be honoured.”
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