France will veto another Brexit delay unless UK ends political chaos

Rob Merrick

France will veto a further delay to Brexit unless the UK ends the chaos and tells the EU what it wants, the country’s foreign minister has warned.

“In the current circumstances, it's no. We are not going to go through this every three months,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The warning threatens the UK with a crash-out Brexit on 31 October – even if Boris Johnson accepts parliament’s order to seek another Article 50 extension.

“The [British] say that they want to put forward other solutions, alternative arrangements so that they can leave,” Mr Le Drian said, referring to the Irish backstop logjam.

“But we have not seen them and so it is 'no' – let the British authorities tell us the way forward.”

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Emmanuel Macron has long been identified as the most hardline EU leader, in contrast to the willingness of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to give the UK more time.

It had been assumed the French president would not “do a de Gaulle” – echoing his predecessor’s veto of the UK joining the then-EEC in the 1960s – if the UK held a general election, or Final Say referendum.

But an ally of Mr Macron warned last week that he feared there was not “a sufficient level of trust” about the UK’s intentions towards the EU.

Since then, No 10 has threatened to defy a law instructing it to seek an extension – and unveiled a plan to paralyse EU decision-making, to force it to bend to its will.

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