Following Theresa May’s historic defeat in the Commons, which saw 230 MPs vote down her proposed Brexit deal, French president Emmanuel Macron outlined the problem with Brexit at a town hall meeting in Normandy.
Macron said the only people who will suffer as a result of the referendum is the British public.
Addressing mayors in a scathing rhetoric, he said:
In the time we are living, it says a lot about what referendums which seemed nice to create.
It’s a referendum that has been manipulated. Manipulated from the outside by a lot of what we call fake news, where everything and anything was said and now they are being told ‘figure it out yourselves'.
Result: it is not true.
‘We [the Leave campaign] have lied to the people, and what they [the public] have chosen is not possible.'
Good luck to the representatives of the nation who has to implement a thing which doesn’t exist and explain to the people: ‘You have voted on a thing, we lied to you.'
Macron also suggested a few options about what Britain could do now, and shot down the idea that the UK will leave the European Union without a transition period (which is what is likely to happen if a deal is not reached before the deadline).
“I’m going to tell you how I see things,” he continued.
First option, the British go towards a no-deal so they say there is no agreement. It scares everybody. The first losers of this are the British people.
So, in this context they will have to - without any transition period - renegotiate a future relationship.
I can tell you very solemnly that in the framework of this future relationship, the interests of French fishing will be defended and we will have to negotiate a transition period with them anyway because the British can't afford not to have a plane taking off or landing in their country and 70 per cent of their supermarket supplies comes from continental Europe.
The second option, he said, is that “they tell us, ‘we’ll try to improve what we can get from the Europeans and we’ll get back for a vote'".” But Macron insists he’s reached the “maximum” of what France can offer with the deal.
“There is a third option," he proposed. "Which is - I think they will start with the second option and it will end with the third option. Let's bet. I take my chances, which is to say, 'We will take more time', and they will ask to have a longer transition period to renegotiate something.
"So they will take more time. Maybe they will step over the European elections to find something else. But, in the time we are living, it says a lot about [what] referendums - which seemed nice - can create.”