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May meets Macron in bid to win support for Brexit plans

Theresa May was invited to French President Emmanuel Macron’s summer retreat for talks.

Theresa May cut short her holiday to hold Brexit talks with Emmanuel Macron (Sebastien Nogier/AP)
Theresa May cut short her holiday to hold Brexit talks with Emmanuel Macron (Sebastien Nogier/AP)

Theresa May has met Emmanuel Macron for talks on Brexit as the clock ticks down for a breakthrough in the process.

The Prime Minister visited the French President’s summer retreat in the south of France, breaking in to her own holiday in order to try to find support for her Brexit blueprint.

Her visit to the Fort de Bregancon followed fresh warnings about the economic impact of the failure to reach a deal on the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is “uncomfortably high” and will lead to higher prices.

He said both the UK and EU should “do all things to avoid” a no-deal scenario.

He added that the banks have done the “stockpiling” and the country’s financial system is in a position to be able to “withstand a shock” which could result from the UK leaving the EU without an agreement.

Mr Carney, appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said: “I think the possibility of a no deal is uncomfortably high at this point.”

Asked if no deal would be a disaster, Mr Carney said: “It is highly undesirable. Parties should do all things to avoid it.”

Pushed on what no deal would mean for people, Mr Carney said “disruption to trade as we know it” before adding: “As a consequence of that, a disruption to the level of economic activity, higher prices for a period of time.

“Our job at the Bank of England is to make sure those issues don’t happen in the financial system so that people will have things to worry about in a no-deal Brexit, which is still a relatively unlikely possibility but it is a possibility, but what we don’t want to have is people worrying about their money in the bank, whether or not they can get a loan from the bank – whether for a mortgage or for a business idea – and we have put the banks through the wringer well in advance of this to make sure they have the capital.”

Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the European Research Group of MPs, dismissed Mr Carney’s comments.

“Mark Carney has long been the high priest of project fear whose reputation for inaccurate and politically motivated forecasting has damaged the reputation of the Bank of England,” he said.

Mrs May cut short her break in the Italian Lakes a day early to attend the hastily-arranged talks with Mr Macron.

After the Brexit discussions, Mrs May and her husband Philip joined Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte for a five-course private dinner at the Mediterranean island hideaway.

The leaders dined on tomatoes and saffron flavoured langoustines; thyme-flavoured sea bass; chicken with vegetables; cheese and finished with a choice of dark chocolate creme brulee or fruit.

In a sign of the intensified diplomatic activity aimed at selling the Chequers Brexit plan, Mrs May also talked to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday.

The Prime Minister and the European Commission president discussed global trade and Brexit, EU officials said.



From Belfast Telegraph