Johnson calls talks with Biden ‘breath of fresh air’ and comments on NI trade
French president Emmanuel Macron has ramped up the pressure on Boris Johnson over the Northern Ireland protocol, insisting “nothing is negotiable” and wrecking the UK’s attempts to claim there is “harmony” at the G7 summit.
In a defiant statement, which he gave to press at an Elysee press conference as he prepared to travel to Cornwall, Mr Macron warned his British counterpart that France is not open to renegotiating any aspect of the protocol – and even appeared to raise questions about whether the UK could be trusted.
“We have a protocol,” he said. “If after six months you say we cannot respect what was negotiated, then that says nothing can be respected. I believe in the weight of a treaty, I believe in taking a serious approach. Nothing is negotiable. Everything is applicable.”
It comes as Mr Johnson played down divisions with US president Joe Biden, calling him “a breath of fresh air”, after it was revealed by The Times that a senior US diplomat had accused No 10 of “inflaming” tensions in Northern Ireland.
Keeping up appearances, the PM assured the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg this morning that the alliance between the US and the UK should be known as the “indestructible relationship … [which] has endured for a very long time, and has been an important part of peace and prosperity both in Europe and around the world”.
Macron attacks UK’s failure to implement Brexit deal ahead of G7 showdown
Emmanuel Macron has launched an angry attack on the UK’s failure to implement the Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, branding the PM’s attempt to reopen the legal protocol governing trade across the Irish Sea as “not serious”, saying: “Nothing is renegotiable.”
The attack – ahead of a face-to-face meeting with Mr Johnson in Cornwall – came after the US issued the UK with an extraordinary diplomatic rebuke for putting the Northern Ireland peace process in jeopardy.
Joe Biden’s top diplomat in London warned David Frost, the Brexit minister, that the government is “inflaming” tensions by refusing to introduce checks at ports, revealed in a memo which No 10 did not deny.
Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick reports:
Sam Hancock11 June 2021 07:55
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage as the G7 summit gets underway in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
Sam Hancock11 June 2021 07:49