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He spoke out after the Brexit trade row with the EU flared up on the final day of the G7 Summit in Cornwall. The testy exchanges followed the escalating “sausage war” over the EU’s threat to impose a ban on the export of chilled meats from Great Britain to Northern Ireland under a hardline interpretation of the Brexit withdrawal deal.
French President Emmanuel Macron hit out at the UK over alleged “incoherences” in the Brexit withdrawal treaty following a clash with the PM during the gathering.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused the President of making “offensive” remarks.
In a clash on Saturday, President Macron was said to have suggested Northern Ireland was not part of the UK when Mr Johnson asked how he would feel if Toulouse sausages were banned from Paris.
Quizzed about the clash yesterday, the PM said: “Of course we make the point continuously that we are part of one great, indivisible United Kingdom.
“What I am saying is that we will do whatever it takes to protect the territorial integrity of the UK. But actually what happened at this summit was there was a colossal amount of work on subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with Brexit.”
Mr Johnson sought to downplay the row by insisting it had been a side issue at the summit.
He added: “The vast majority of the conversations have been about other subjects and there has been a fantastic degree of harmony between the leaders.”
But President Macron hit out by blaming Mr Johnson’s Brexit arrangements for the row.
The French president said: “He must not make the European Union have to deal with certain incoherences that he was well aware of from the beginning.”
He brushed aside his alleged comments to the PM about Northern Ireland, saying: “France has never questioned Britain’s sovereignty. We know very well what British sovereignty is. Let’s not lose time over disagreements created in corridors.
“I believe that as far as this subject matter is concerned everybody has got to come back to reason. My wish, my will, is that we succeed – we succeed collectively – to put into operation what we decided upon a few months ago.”
President Macron also insisted the EU was better off now the UK had left. He said: “The EU demonstrated in the last four years that it is a political entity, not just an economic entity.
“We can have certain interests and values we can pursue together and not be blocked by another partner.”
Earlier yesterday, the Foreign Secretary savaged suggestions that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK as “offensive” and called for European leaders to show the UK “respect”.
Mr Raab said: “What we cannot have is the continuing disruption of trade and effectively try to change the status of Northern Ireland, contrary to the consent and wishes of the people, which is not just contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol but also to the Belfast Agreement.
“We have serially seen senior EU figures talk about Northern Ireland as if it was some kind of different country to the UK.
“It is not only offensive, it has real world effects on the communities in Northern Ireland, creates great concern, great consternation. We need a bit of respect here.”
Mr Raab claimed other EU leaders at the summit had suggested Northern Ireland was not fully a part of the UK.
He added: “There was more than one senior European figure talking about this at this summit and I’ve heard it for years now.
“And the truth is Northern Ireland cannot be talked about as a separate country to the UK. It’s offensive. And that kind of approach speaks volumes.
“That is one of the reasons we have the problems we do with the Northern Ireland Protocol, there isn’t a proper appreciation and there’s a lopsided approach.”
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