Boris Johnson advised Emmanuel Macron on Sunday to “withdraw his threats” to impose extra onerous border checks and criticised the French president for a leaked official letter that advised the UK needs to be punished for leaving the EU.

Macron and Johnson held a 30-minute tête-à-tête on the margins of the G20 summit in Rome. Downing Avenue’s combative assertion following the assembly contrasted with the extra conciliatory one from the Elysée Palace, which mentioned each leaders agreed to work constructively to de-escalate the dispute over post-Brexit fishing licences.

Quantity 10 mentioned that Johnson expressed his “deep concern over the rhetoric emanating from the French authorities in latest days together with the suggestion by the French prime minister that the UK needs to be punished for leaving the EU”.

The UK prime minister advised Macron he hoped that France would “de-escalate this rhetoric and withdraw their threats”, Downing Avenue mentioned.

The Elysée assertion mentioned Macron referred to as on Johnson to stay to the foundations set out within the Brexit settlement and for his or her dialogue to be performed with “excessive requirements, seriousness and respect”. French officers mentioned the pair would work on “sensible measures” in “the following few days” to advertise a de-escalation within the fishing dispute.

The change adopted a leaked letter from French prime minister Jean Castex to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Fee, who referred to as on the EU to take additional steps within the fishing row, appearing in a “agency, united and proportional manner”. “We should present clearly that respecting prior agreements will not be negotiable and that leaving the EU causes extra harm than staying in,” he wrote.

Whitehall officers advised that the letter had “ruined all belief” between the UK and France. One described it as “the punishment letter”.

In an interview with the Financial Times on Friday, Macron warned that the worldwide popularity of the UK was at stake within the dispute over fishing rights and warned that different nations had been watching carefully.

“Make no mistake, it isn’t only for the Europeans however all of their companions,” Macron mentioned. “As a result of while you spend years negotiating a treaty after which just a few months later you do the other of what was selected the facets that swimsuit you the least, it isn’t an enormous signal of your credibility.”

Tensions over fishing rights have been simmering for months after the UK did not difficulty permits for some small French boats to fish in British waters underneath the Brexit settlement.

Paris on Wednesday introduced it might improve customs and sanitary controls on freight, make stricter checks of vans coming in and leaving France, and ban trawlers from touchdown their catch in French ports if the dispute was not resolved by Tuesday.

France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, took to Twitter on Sunday to complain that “we don’t lack only a few licences, however greater than 40 per cent of French detailed requests”.

“After 10 months, when such a major quantity of licences, focusing on one nation, is lacking, it’s not a technical difficulty, it’s a political alternative and a breach of the TCA [Trade and Cooperation Agreement],” he wrote.

Beaune added that France had referred to as for motion on the EU stage and “stands able to implement proportionate and reversible measures from November 2”. 

Lord David Frost, Johnson’s Brexit minister, mentioned on Twitter on Saturday that the UK would launch dispute decision proceedings if France carried out additional checks on fishing vessels and on the border.

“We are going to proceed to speak constructively to attempt to resolve all of the variations between us, and we urge the EU and France to step again from rhetoric and actions that make this harder,” he tweeted.

The previous UK ambassador to France, Lord Peter Ricketts, mentioned he believed the connection between France and the UK was at its lowest level in his diplomatic profession, surpassing the dispute over the Iraq conflict in 2003.

“It’s a case of complete collapse of confidence, after so many circumstances the place the British authorities hasn’t revered its phrase,” he advised the FT.

“The prospect now could be of actual financial harm and a spiral downwards,” he mentioned.

“Politically there was little motivation for this to settle as a result of it’s handy to have a row with France to distract consideration, and handy to point out base supporters [the UK government is] being robust on France.”