The French have threatened to cut off energy supplies and even potentially blockade supply routes into Britain during the Christmas season in response to a spat over post-Brexit fishing access in UK waters.
French fishermen have said that they intend to enact blockades of the English Channel tunnel and the port of Calais to block supplies coming from continental Europe into Britain if the UK does not give in to their demands on fishing access.
“If negotiating fails, we will stop all French and European products reaching the UK, and we will stop all British products reaching Europe. Unless Boris backs down, the Brits will not have so many nice things to eat this Christmas. I hope it doesn’t come to that,” the head of the northern France fisheries committee, Olivier Lepretre, said per The Times.
The French government has also said it will seek to impose restrictions on energy trade after the majority of small French fishing vessels were denied access to operate in inner-British waters.
French Europe Minister Clément Beaune said: “The UK depends on our energy exports, they think they can live alone while also beating up on Europe and, given that it doesn’t work, they engage in aggressive one-upmanship.”
It is estimated that around 47 per cent of energy imports come from France and with energy shortages already being witnessed accross the country, the consequences of a cut from the French could have serious consequences for the lives of ordinary Britons.
British border guards could be stopped from checking for migrant stowaways in France unless London backs down in its Brexit fish war with Paris, it has been warned.
Jean-Pierre Pont, MP for the Pas-de-Calais county, said the Touquet treaty could be revoked because the French government had to go “all the way” to stop its fishermen taking “the law into their own hands”.
The 2003 treaty effectively moved the British border on to French soil. It prevents many migrants from reaching UK shores, where they can claim asylum, and stops them in France. Either side can revoke the border treaty but there is a two-year period before it can be cancelled.
Mr Pont, an MP for Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche party said: “As for Le Touquet, I think it could go as far as threatening to revoke it.”
“They are all furious and prepared to do everything to get the Brexit accords respected,” Mr Pont added after attending virtual talks with Annick Giradin, the minister of the seas and Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister.
The Express also has the story.
BRUSSELS has been warned of the catastrophic mistake it could make if it continues attacks against the UK following the row over Article 16 and Jersey fishing licences.
Following Britain’s threat to invoke Article 16 of the Brexit deal, the EU has warned it may take out punitive measures if the UK does not hand out more fishing licences to French fishermen. Indeed, French officials have called on the EU Commission to trigger measures within the deal which would hit UK exports with trade tariffs. If the EU does follow through with its threat, one economist has warned French and Irish farmers would be hit particularly badly from the fall out.
Writing for The Daily Telegraph, he said: “France has suggested that the EU could abandon the Brexit agreement if Britain invokes Article 16 over the protocol, which Lord Frost has said we will do unless pragmatic relations are put in place.
“However, it would be a big mistake for the EU to do so.
“The last thing the EU needs is a breakdown of the Brexit agreement, with, for example, tariffs being levied in a reprise of No Deal.
“Tariffs with Brexit Britain would damage EU producers, who would have to cut their prices in the British market to absorb them; but they would give HM Treasury a tidy sum.
Millions of Britons are facing a looming winter energy crisis, with experts warning that gas and electricity bills will surge by at least £500 a year.
Soaring energy costs saw gas prices rising by a staggering 37 per cent in a single day and pushing more energy firms to the brink of collapse while the National Grid warned of electricity shortages as the country faces its worst crisis since the first Covid outbreak last year.
Rising inflation driven by labour shortages, growing energy costs, a lack of HGV drivers and gaps in global supply chains are contributing to the problem, as it was revealed hard-pressed families face paying £1,700 more for energy in April and an extra £1,800 for other essentials by Christmas.
Joe Malinowski, founder of TheEnergyShop.com, warned of a ‘gas bill explosion’, adding: ‘As things currently stand, we are headed for another increase of at least £500. If things don’t settle down soon, increases of £600, £700 or even £800 cannot be ruled out.’
Customers of small energy firms could face even bigger increases if their supplier fails. Mr Malinowski warned that ‘energy suppliers are falling like dominos’ and without political action ‘the outcome will be terrible for consumers’.
While Boris Johnson today brushed off the crisis and used his Manchester Tory conference speech to set out his vision for a ‘high wage, high skilled, high productivity’ economy, the price of wholesale gas surged by £1 a unit to 400p per therm this morning – up 37 per cent in a day and 600 per cent higher than the start of 2021.
Prices reversed course hours later, sending the UK contracts back to £2.87, after Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to stabilise the gas market by saying that state-backed monopoly exporter Gazprom could increase supplies to Europe. Critics accused Mr Putin of trying to stave off allegations that Moscow is trying to ‘weaponise’ gas supplies amid tensions between Russia and NATO powers over Ukraine.
On a day of worsening news, National Grid’s chief executive John Pettigrew told the FT that Britain will face tighter electricity supplies this winter due to a lack of capacity in the system and a colder winter predicted, which means the cost of electricity will increase as gas prices spike to record high.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claim that the “era of uncontrolled low skilled immigration is over” is deeply misleading, Migration Watch UK claims, which predicts public outrage after the scale of his “disastrous” immigration policies are seen.
Delivering a speech at the Conservative Party Conference in the northern English city of Manchester on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said that his “Build Back Better” agenda will put an end to “uncontrolled immigration”.
“The answer to present stresses and strains, which are mainly a function of economic growth and revival, is not to reach for that same old lever of uncontrolled migration to keep wages low.
“The answer is to control immigration, to allow people of talent to come to this country but not to use immigration as an excuse for failure to invest in people, skills, and the equipment and machinery.”
Responding to the speech, Migration Watch UK accused Mr Johnson of deceiving the public into believing that his policies will actually reduce migration. The think tank noted that while there may be a reduction in migrant workers from the European Union, Johnson’s points-based system has in fact opened the door to many more migrants throughout the world than before.
The government said that the plan was intended to be modelled off of the Australian points-based system, however, unlike Australia, the UK has failed to set a hard cap on number of immigrants allowed in per year, opening up about half of all full-time jobs to competition from foreign labour.
THE European Union is threatening to cut off UK businesses from the rest of the world in a huge blow to the City of London as the Brexit row over triggering Article 16 explodes.
EU member states have been infuriated by a threat from the UK’s Brexit minister Lord Frost to invoke Article 16 if Brussels does not cave on demands to make wholesale changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. France’s Clement Beaune erupted during an interview on Monday, with Paris threatening to turn off the lights in Britain and cut off its imported energy supply, which is already in crisis under fuel and gas shortages, as well as surging prices.
EU member states are reportedly already floating more subtle measures that wouldn’t hit the general population but could still blow a huge hole in under-pressure finances, such as ending data transfers to UK companies, according to Politico’s Playbook.
During his outburst, Mr Beaune warned the Brexit deal should be “implemented fully” and that if it is not, “we will take European or national measures to exert pressure on the UK”.
He told Europe 1 radio: “Enough already, we have an agreement negotiated by France, by Michel Barnier, and it should be applied 100 percent.
“In the next few days, and I talked to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures at the European level or nationally, to apply pressure on the United Kingdom.”
See also the Times.
Boris Johnson on Wednesday said houses should not be built on “green fields” as ministers abandoned proposals for a vast overhaul of planning rules.
In a clear signal to Tory heartlands that he had heard their concerns, Mr Johnson used his Conservative Party conference speech to acknowledge fears that the countryside would be “desecrated by ugly new homes”.
The Prime Minister’s comments reveal a change in strategy after a Tory voter backlash over planning reforms saw the party lose the safe seat of Chesham and Amersham in a June by-election.
The Telegraph understands that the most controversial aspects of biggest overhaul of the planning system in 70 years have effectively been ditched, with ministers looking for changes that will be less radical but more palatable to Tory MPs.
The new focus will be on boosting construction on brownfield sites, which have been previously developed and are less controversial locations for housebuilding.
Only a quarter of retired GPs given their licences back at the start of the Covid pandemic returned to work with patients, a survey has revealed.
Last March, the General Medical Council (GMC) granted temporary emergency registration to around 8,200 GPs who had retired or been off the medical register for five years or less.
Around 4,000 were surveyed in October as the second wave of the pandemic began to take hold – but the majority had not returned to work or received a job offer.
It comes after The Telegraph reported that NHS bureaucracy had prevented some retired medics from returning to the Covid front line.
Doctors trying to sign up to be vaccinators in December found it “absolutely impossible” to apply after 21 pieces of evidence, including evidence of Prevent Radicalisation training, were required. Matt Hancock, then the Health Secretary, vowed to streamline the process, meaning some tick boxes were removed.
Dr John Hughes, the chairman of campaign group GP Survival, told Pulse Today the process for GPs returning to the workforce during the pandemic was “exceedingly challenging and impenetrable”.