Acting like Putin!’ Macron shamed for Jersey chaos as MP warns of plans to ‘up the ante’


FRANCE’s threat to turn off Jersey’s electricity is a blatant French attempt to intimidate the UK, more in keeping with the approach of Vladimir Putin’s Russia than with a western democracy, a Tory MP has said.

And while David Jones welcomed ’s decision to send  vessels to the Channel Islands, he also suggested French President  may use the crisis to bolster his credentials with one eye on next year’s election. The row exploded after remarks by Annick Girardin in France’s National Assembly.

Mrs Girardin said she was “disgusted” that Jersey had issued 41 licences with unilaterally imposed conditions, including the time French fishing vessels could spend in its waters.

She added: “In the Brexit deal there are retaliatory measures. Well, we’re ready to use them.

“Regarding Jersey, I remind you of the delivery of electricity along underwater cables.

“Even if it would be regrettable if we had to do it, we’ll do it if we have to.”

Mr Johnson responding by deploying two Royal Navy gunships, while emphasising his “unwavering support” for the British territory in the English Channel.

Mr Jones, deputy chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) as well as the MP for Clwyd, told “The French threat to cut off electricity to Jersey is nothing more nor less than bullying and demanding with menaces.

“It’s what you’d expect from Putin’s Russia, rather than a civilised country such as France.”

Assessing Mr Johnson’s response, he added: “The British Government are doing entirely the right thing in showing support for Jersey by sending Royal Navy ships there.

“The French Government are doing nothing to persuade their fishermen to show restraint; rather, they are encouraging them through Annick Girardin’s inflammatory rhetoric.”

As for what would happen next, Mr Jones warned: “Macron may well try to up the ante.

“He is facing an election next year and will not want to appear weak.”

But he added: “The truth is, however, that are UK can’t go to war with France.

“This has to be settled somehow, and diplomacy is the only way forward.

“Threatening to turn the lights off in Jersey really won’t wash.”

Speaking to the BBC News today, Jersey’s External Affairs Minister, Ian Gorst, said: “We’ve heard disproportionate threats from Paris and now with a potential blockade, but the answer to the issues that are being faced are without doubt talking and diplomacy.”

Mr Gorst denied the UK Government’s response was similarly disproportionate, saying: “A minister in Paris threatened over technical issues on fishing licences to cut off Jersey’s electricity.

“We have to take such threats seriously and respond appropriately.”

Referring by threats by French fishing vessels to blockade the main harbour into the island, he added: “Again, we have to take that seriously and we’re extremely grateful to the Prime Minister for his full support.

“And, as he said last night, those assets in Jersey waters are as a precautionary measure to monitor what’s happening in our waters and, as I’ve said, so far the protest has been peaceful, as we would expect.”