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BREXIT

French president Macron warns of no-deal Brexit ‘for sure’ if British MPs reject May’s deal

French president Emmanuel Macron warned on Thursday that if British MPs reject the Brexit withdrawal agreement once again - the country will leave the European Union without a deal.

French president Macron warns of no-deal Brexit 'for sure' if British MPs reject May's deal
Emmanuel Macron at the European Council meeting in Brussels. Photo: AFP

“In the case of a negative British vote then we'd be heading to a no deal,” Macron said, arriving at the EU summit in Brussels.

“We all know it. And it's essential to be clear in these days and moments.”

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Macron, echoing other EU leaders, said that a short “technical extension” would be possible, but only if British lawmakers who have twice rejected a withdrawal agreement vote next week to back it.

“We do respect the vote of the British people. We do respect what the prime minister and parliament are making,” Macron told reporters, repeating himself in English for British broadcasters.

“In case of no vote, or no, directly it will guide everybody to a no deal for sure,” he said.

 

(Emmanuel Macron prepares for the EU summit in Brussels. Photo: AFP)

 

His comments came after France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also took a hard line on any Brexit delays.

“A situation in which Mrs May is unable to deliver sufficient guarantees on the credibility of her strategy at the European Council meeting would lead to the request being refused and a preference for a no deal,” he told the French parliamet on Wednesday.

Le Drian said an extension to the March 29 deadline would only be granted if British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to three conditions.

First, that any extension only be given to approve an exit deal negotiated by May and the other 27 European Union members, which has twice been rejected 
by British MPs.

Secondly, that May not seek to renegotiate the deal.

And thirdly that Britain not participate in elections for the European Parliament which are scheduled for May 23rd-26th.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, as he arrived for the meeting, reiterated the message that any extension to the deadline would be conditional on British MPs passing May's deal.

 

 

The European Council was meeting on Thursday after May had formally requested an extension to the Brexit deqdline – which is currently set at March 29th.

In Britain, a petition calling on politicians to cancel Brexit was set to hit 1 million signatures, less than 48 hours after being set up.

By law, once a petition has more than 100,000 signatures, it must be discussed by parliament.

 



 

 

Member comments

  1. I just don’t understand what the EU leaders are doing now! Why the hell are they forcing us into this effing deal, when it would surely be in their interest for the UK to have a second referendum and then hopefully cancel Brexit altogether? Why aren’t they insisting on that as a condition of agreeing to an extension? I am baffled – and very angry!

  2. I’ve just about had it with the Tory government and its politicking, when leadership was called for, and games to ensure the survival of their party when it should have been the survival of the country that was paramount.
    I can therefore fully understand Macron’s exasperated approach, and I’m a Remainer, but someone has to tell the UK government the reality of the mess that they’ve gotten us all into!

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TRAVEL NEWS

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.

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