Macron likes UK ‘less since Brexit’ says Ann Widdecombe
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The two leaders, who have endured a strained relationship over a range of issues, agreed to work more closely on security while committing to reinvigorate the “Anglo-French relationship”. Emmanuel Macron was elected 12 days ago on April 24 after beating right-wing rival Marine Le Pen in the hotly-contested French election. The French President spoke regularly to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the early weeks of his campaign, with the two leaders even speaking for more than two hours again earlier this week.
Mr Macron also held calls with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the US President Joe Biden in the days immediately after his victory on April 24.
During their call earlier today, Mr Johnson urged the French President against any negotiations with Russia that played into its “false narrative” on the conflict in Ukraine.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister spoke to President Emmanuel Macron of France earlier today to congratulate him on his recent election victory.
“The leaders committed to reinvigorate the Anglo-French relationship, working together to tackle shared issues including the cost of living, threats from autocratic states and global energy security.
“On Ukraine, the Prime Minister and President Macron were united in their condemnation of Putin’s deadly folly and agreed to coordinate more closely on longer-term security and economic support for Ukraine, as well as measures to isolate Russia.
“The Prime Minister updated on his visit to Kyiv last month and shared his conviction that Ukraine would win, supported with the right level of defensive military assistance.
“He urged against any negotiations with Russian on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion, but stressed that this was a decision for the Ukrainian government.
“They shared concerns about the fallout from the invasion of Ukraine for global energy and food prices, and agreed to work through the G7 to mitigate the impacts domestically and on developing economies.”
Mr Johnson and Mr Macron also discussed “opportunities for greater economic and technological collaboration between the UK and France, boosting jobs and growth in both countries”.
But they also tackled the thorny issue of the post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland that has caused mounting tensions.
The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s “serious and ongoing concerns” and his belief that serious changes are needed to the controversial protocol to protect peace.
Number 10 continued: “On the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Prime Minister noted the UK’s serious and ongoing concerns with the operation of the Protocol and reiterated the need to make significant changes to protect peace and stability in Northern Ireland.”
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Talks between the UK and European Union over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol have taken a back seat since Russia began its brutal invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Britain, led by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, has continued to insist the protocol simply isn’t working and has demanded it be drastically overhauled or torn up completely.
On several occasions, the UK has warned over the possibility of triggering the Article 16 safeguard mechanism, which would rip the deal to shreds.
But Brussels has so far refused to bow to Britain’s demands, warning of fierce retaliatory action should it make such an aggressive move.
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