Gavin Mortimer Gavin Mortimer

Emmanuel Macron’s fear of Frexit is bad news for Britain

Emmanuel Macron launched his Big Debate on Tuesday and for the next two months the French people will have the chance to air their grievances in meetings and online. The consultation, in response to the Yellow Vest protest movement, has captured the media’s attention but nonetheless it was knocked off the top of the news agenda temporarily by events in Westminster.

There is an undoubtedly a touch of schadenfreude in the Élysée Palace at the Brexit farrago, a relief that another world leader is in torment.

Macron learned that parliament had rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday evening, as he was nearing the end of a seven hour debate in a Normandy town hall. Describing the possibility of a no-deal as “scary”, the president added:

“The first losers in this would be the British.”

Claiming that he knew the British “a bit” (his great grandfather was a British soldier in the first world war), Macron told the audience he believes May will return to Brussels in search of a better divorce agreement. “We’ll look into it,” he said. “Maybe we’ll make improvements on one or two things, but I don’t really think so because we’ve reached the maximum of what we could do with the deal and we won’t – just to solve Britain’s domestic political issues – stop defending European interests.”

The other reason the Prime Minister can expect no favours from the French president is because he wants to make leaving as unpleasant as possible for Britain to deter his own people from getting ideas above their station. In an interview with the BBC in January last year, Macron was asked if France would vote to leave if given the chance. “Yes,” he replied. “Probably, in a similar context.”

The Gilets Jaunes’ manifesto lists

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