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Mr Macron he also used a phrase previously employed by the UK Prime Minister to suggest Britain faces being a “vassal” of Donald Trump’s United States in the event of a no deal Brexit. Speaking yesterday, the French President said: “It was the British people who decided on Brexit, and the British government has the possibility up to the last second to revoke Article 50.” Mr Johnson, who yesterday echoed an expression commonly used by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel – “We can do this” – during yesterday’s joint press conference during which she indicated an alternative to the backstop for the Irish border “could be identified in 30 days”.
However, Mr Johnson is likely to find Mr Macron a tougher proposition, judging by his remarks prior to their meeting, doing which he warned of the risks of what he called a “hard Brexit”.
He said: “Can the cost for Britain of a hard Brexit – because Britain will be the main victim – be offset by the United States of America? No.
“And even if it were a strategic choice it would be at the cost of a historic vassalisation of Britain.
“I don’t think this is what Boris Johnson wants. I don’t think it is what the British people want.”
Mr Macron suggested links with the EU meant “the British are attached to being a great power” but said after Brexit the country would become merely a “junior partner” of the US.
His comment are a reference to Britain’s aim of striking a wide-ranging traded deal with the United States after it quits the block.
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It is understood Germany’s agriculture ministry told officials at the British Foreign Office the country’s food producers would likely sell elsewhere rather than face border queues but it only supplies a very small amount of products – mainly tomatoes – which can easily be grown in the UK.
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