"Two can play at that game and we reserve the ability to respond in a proportionate way”: British Environment Secretary George Eustice

Britain’s environment minister pledged Friday to retaliate if France carries through on threats to block U.K. fishing ships from French ports, warning that “two can play at that game” in the worsening dispute rooted in Britain’s departure from the European Union, the AP reports.

Britain summoned the French ambassador for a dressing-down after French authorities fined two British fishing vessels and kept one in port overnight Thursday.

Since the U.K. left the economic orbit of the EU in January, relations between London and Paris have become increasingly frayed as the nations on either side of the English Channel sort out a post-Brexit path.

France has threatened to block British boats and tighten checks on U.K. vessels unless French vessels get more permits to fish in U.K. waters. France also suggested it might restrict energy supplies to the Channel Islands, British Crown dependencies that lie off the coast of France and are heavily dependent on French electricity.

“We will see what they do,” British Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News. “But if they do bring these into place, well, two can play at that game and we reserve the ability to respond in a proportionate way.”

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