Boris Johnson threatens delay to border checks on cold meats for Northern Ireland

Brexit: Business owner on 'utter tragedy' of exports

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As the Prime Minister welcomed EU leaders to the G7 in Cornwall, his official spokesman said: “We keep all options on the table.” However, No10 officials said the summit “is not the forum” for a breakthrough in the stand-off. Ahead of travelling to Cornwall, French President Emmanuel Macron said the UK’s request for the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit deal to be revised was “not serious”, adding: “Nothing is negotiable.” But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hit out at this “dogmatic, purist approach”, saying: “We want it to work for all sides, but the change must come from the Commission’s side, and the way they are approaching this. We are not negotiating or haggling the integrity of the United Kingdom…that is not on the table.”


The PM will hold separate talks with Mr Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the summit.

They will be followed by a meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, European Council president.

And all four EU figures are expected to press Mr Johnson over rules on chilled meats and other products under the Northern Ireland Protocol of his Brexit deal.

Brexit minister Lord Frost has already refused to rule out the possibility that the UK could unilaterally delay imposing checks on British-made chilled meats which are due to start at the end of the month.

Mr Macron has warned the Brexit deal cannot be renegotiated. He said: “It’s not serious to want to review in June what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We continue to have discussions with the EU and we’re seeking to urgently come up with a range of proposals within the protocol to find a way forward.”

Downing Street played down expectations of Mr Johnson finding a resolution to the impasse at the summit. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “This is not the forum in which he is necessarily seeking to come up with an immediate solution.”

A former White House official claimed the EU was making a “mountain out of molehill” and expected President Joe Biden to “push on the Europeans” as much as the British during the summit.

Mick Mulvaney said: “I understand the principles the Europeans are wedded to but the practicalities strike us as something that should be able to be worked out.

“We maybe understand a little bit better why you chose to leave if you are having a fight over sausages when something as important as the hard border on the island of Ireland is at risk.” Mr Biden has warned against anything that could destabilise the Good Friday Agreement.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Johnson lashed out at the EU, accusing it of an “excessively burdensome” approach to post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

He insisted he is not trying to back out of the Brexit divorce deal.

Mr Johnson told the BBC: “You will understand that there are ways of enforcing the protocol…that may be ­excessively burdensome.”

The new post-Brexit arrangements came into effect on January 1 and the dispute is still simmering.

But Mr Johnson insisted: “I think we can sort it out.”

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