France's Macron attacks Brexit and says it will end up 'costing' the British people

·Contributor
Emmanuel Macron has attacked Brexit… again (L’opinion)
Emmanuel Macron has attacked Brexit… again (L’opinion)

France’s Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has attacked Brexit, saying it has torn British society apart.

And in a stinging address, he added that it ‘can’t be delivered’ and was based on false information and figures.

In a speech in Bourg-de-Peage, south eastern France, the French leader said Brexit would end up ‘costing’ the British people.

People are starting to realise that all the figures they were given are entirely false, and what they were told could be done overnight in fact can’t be delivered.

Macron said Brexit had divided British society (PA)
Macron said Brexit had divided British society (PA)

‘And in the end it’s going to cost them. In this context do you think that the referendum was a good thing?

No, because it didn’t allow for an informed, transparent and calm debate. It’s torn a society apart, and it’s left it open to disinformation coming from abroad, or terrible manipulation.’

He added: ‘Take the British. They voted for Brexit. There were people who, in good faith, were sometimes as angry as you are, and they said that the source of all their ills was Europe. It’s rubbish!’

Yellow Jacket protesters in Paris earlier this month (PA)
Yellow Jacket protesters in Paris earlier this month (PA)

His comments came as part of his ‘national debate’, launched as he faces a major test to his leadership through the ‘Gilet Jaunes’ (Yellow Jackets) movement, which has seen widespread demonstrations and rioting.

It is the second attack by the under-pressure French leader on Brexit this month.

In Normandy on January 17, he said the ‘first losers’ of Brexit would be the British people and said Britons had been ‘sold a lie’ by those wanting to leave the European union.

His comments come as divisions over Brexit in Britain looked like coming to a head, with a vote next week in the House of Commons by MPs to accept or not the controversial deal being offered by Prime Minister Theresa May.

Even the Queen appeared to speak about the all-encompassing issue, calling on Britons to seek ‘common ground’.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29 but how remains unclear.

The countdown to Brexit (PA)
The countdown to Brexit (PA)
Macron attacked British politicians for their claims at the time of the referendum (PA)
Macron attacked British politicians for their claims at the time of the referendum (PA)

Some Cabinet ministers have refused to rule out quitting the Cabinet in order to stop a no-deal Brexit.

MPs will vote on January 29 on Theresa May’s bitterly contested deal, negotiated with the European Union.

Mr Macron is under pressure himself in France through the Yellow Jackets protest movement, which has caused havoc across the country for the past few weekends.

The Yellow Jackets is a grassroots protest movement which rose first in opposition to fuel taxes on diesel and petrol but has subsequently morphed into wider demonstrations.

Macron speaking in south-east France (PA)
Macron speaking in south-east France (PA)

They have brought several French cities to a standstill with regular weekend protests, some of them violent, and it has also seen Macron’s popularity plummet.

Furious Eurosceptic MPs though hit back at the French leader, claiming that the decision to leave the EU was a democratic one and it’s France, not Britain, which has riots on its streets.

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