Emmanuel Macron calls Brexit a ‘sad day’ as he says 2016 referendum campaign was ‘based on lies’

Emmanuel Macron has described Brexit as a “historic alarm signal” that shows the EU must be “reformed deeply”. 

In an address to the nation, the French President said the 2016 Brexit campaign was “based on lies, exaggerations, simplifications, cheques that were promised and will never be delivered”.

He also said that Brexit happened because Europe was “all too often” made out to be a scapegoat for “difficulties”. 

Mr Macron described today as a “sad day, “with the UK set to officially leave the bloc at 11pm.

“At midnight, for the first time in 70 years, a country will leave the European Union. It is a historic alarm signal that must be heard in each of our countries,” he added.

He said Europe was made a scapegoat but added that “Europe can only advance if we reform in depth, to make it more sovereign, more democratic, closer to our citizens” so that “the desire to leave Europe will never again be the response to difficulties today”.

Mr Macron also warned that although France wants to forge close ties with Britain after Brexit, “you can’t be in and out” and the country “won’t have the same obligations, so it will no longer have the same rights”.

Boris Johnson chaired a symbolic cabinet meeting in Sunderland as the UK’s departure looms (REUTERS)

The landmark departure has sparked heated debate across the country today. Theresa May, the former prime minister, tweeted this evening to claim it means “we can finally say that we have delivered on the result of the 2016 referendum”.

Her successor Boris Johnson took the whole cabinet to Sunderland this afternoon for a symbolic meeting in the city where the first leave result was declared.

He told ministers it marked “a new chapter in the United Kingdom’s story”, as negotiations for a free trade deal with the bloc during an 11 month transition period begin.


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